CAIRO — The Cairo Syrupmaids' quest for an undefeated season ended in the regular season finale against Bainbridge Friday night.
Cairo's two main goals remain, however; a Region 1 championship and a Class AAAA title. The Syrupmaids will shoot for a region crown this week when they host the semifinals and finals in the region tournament.
“It's well within our reach. I'm real proud of what we've done this year; winning 14 games with only one loss,” Cairo coach Melissa McClendon said. “We're just looking forward to region, getting that opportunity to play in state being as we are in the semifinals now. Just the fact that we get another opportunity to play.”
With Cairo off until the region semifinals, it has guaranteed a spot in the state tournament, which starts Feb. 23-24.
Bainbridge dropped Cairo 46-35 Friday night in the worst Syrupmaids' showing of the season.
“We didn't get that one (Friday night). We didn't shoot well,” McClendon said.
They managed a season-low in points and it followed Cairo's 20-point drubbing of the Lady Bearcats on Jan. 9. Bainbridge improved to 9-7 and 4-6 in region play, finishing fourth in the region standings.
While enduring a loss is never ideal at any point in the season, it allows the Syrupmaids to refocus heading into the postseason. Cairo also has the experience and veteran leadership to overcome the disappointment of not finishing undefeated. Its nine seniors will be key to the team's run in the region and state playoffs.
“To have nine seniors, to have that much leadership and they all recognize that leadership is important. The fact that playing together as a team is key,” McClendon said.