Entering the season, Thomasville High coach Ben Tillman was hoping the Bulldogs could find a compliment to star big man Andrew Parker.
Quentin Addison teamed with Parker to torment the Bearcats in a 70-55 Bulldog win Friday as the big men combined for 36 points and 18 rebounds.
“That’s the pressure release we needed,” Tillman said. “You just don’t realize how much people were doubling (Parker) up and he wasn’t able to score. Now with Quentin out there, there’s another big out there that’s athletic and can play above the rim.
“So they can’t just take another big and double him up. They have to double him up with a guard, and that’s not slowing him down.”
That force inside dictated play for the Bulldogs as they each had seven points in the first half to share the team scoring lead along with Henri Abrams. Parker, who finished with a game-high 20 points, set the tone as he took a feed from point guard Kenneth Hayes and slammed the ball home just a minute into the game for the first points. Parker added two more dunks in the fourth quarter.
“That was our whole focus was to make sure we made them happy,” Tillman added. “And it makes the guards happy too, to know that when we get the ball down there, they are able to score.”
After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Addison, who finished with a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, caught fire in the second quarter as consecutive buckets staked Thomasville to a 17-14 lead, an advantage it wouldn’t relinquish. The 2-4 Bulldogs, who led 27-18 at halftime, extended the lead to 47-30 late in the third quarter. Leading by 10 with 2:30 left in the period, Alex Peralta nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to key the run. Jakezmin King, who finished with nine points, also hit a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter.
“And it’s opening up jump shots too and we were able to knock down some 3s,” Tillman said. “Alex Peralta came in and hit a pair of huge 3s when we were flat in the third quarter.”
Tyree Crump led Bainbridge (2-3) with 14 points.
Bainbridge girls 37
It all comes down to trust.
Thomasville is still working on buying in to a new system completely, and that was evidenced in the Bulldogs’ up-and-down play Friday night against visiting Bainbridge. New coach Antonio Wade said Thomasville’s struggles in the second half, where the Bulldogs had to hold on to a win, was a result of the lack of trust.
“The big word is trust,” Wade said after Thomasville turned the ball over 24 times, 16 coming in the second half. “We’re still trying to get every single girl to trust what we’re doing.
“In the first half, they trusted what we were doing and the process. The second half, they started doing their own things and started making some silly turnovers.
“What we’re fighting right now is the 100 percent buy-in.”
Due to those turnovers and trust issues, Bainbridge was almost able to overcome a 26-11 halftime deficit and 31-17 hole entering the fourth. During that final eight-minute run, the Bearcats hit seven of their first nine shots as well as heading to the free throw line seven times. But there, Bainbridge only made 4 of 12 in the fourth and 7 of 21 in the game.
Still, Bainbridge clawed back into behind a huge fourth quarter from Patra Parris, who scored all 10 of her points in the period. The 5-foot-11 junior also had seven rebounds. She scored Bainbridge’s last bucket with 42 seconds left to pull the Bearcats within 39-37.
Bainbridge had its chances after that, quickly forcing a pair of Thomasville turnovers. However, Beonka Madge missed and after corralling the rebound, Tameria Levens was fouled with 18 seconds remaining. Levens then missed both free throws and 10 seconds later, Thomasville hit Danisha Jones over the top of Bainbridge’s press for the layup to clinch the Thomasville win.
“We had it drawn up earlier for another girl because I knew it would be open with the way they had played before,” Wade said. “We had wanted to do it before and it’s all about execution. And that comes back to trust.”
Jones had eight points and seven rebounds for the 5-2 Bulldogs, who were led by junior point guard Ricarsha Johnson’s game-high 15 points. Haley McNeil added nine.
Alex Carter led the 0-6 Bearcats with 13 points.