SAVANNAH — Thomasville’s basketball team is reaffirming the notion that defense wins championships. Its relentlessly attacking defense propelled the Bulldogs to the Region 1-AA championship and now has them on the brink of the Final Four.

“That’s our goal — to try to wear them down,” said Thomasville head coach Tyrone Kellogg, a day before tonight’s quarterfinal game against Manchester. The Bulldogs stifling defense shut down Lamar County’s Mikyle McGee in the fourth quarter, following a 29-point outburst through the first three quarters.

“The shooter at the end wasn’t shooting the ball as well. He got tired,” added Kellogg. “That’s what we wanted to happen.”

McGee’s inability to hit shots led to a 74-70 Bulldogs victory Thursday night. Kellogg understands his team will need another strong defensive showing tonight if it will advance to the Final Four.

“Manchester looked very impressive,” said Kellogg, referring to the Blue Devils’ 72-32 victory over Bacon County Thursday. “I think Bacon County was the weaker team. (Manchester) is very athletic. I think they’re ranked No. 2 in the state.”

One part of Thomasville’s game that needs improvement is its defensive rebounding. Against Lamar and Irwin County in the first round, the Bulldogs gave up numerous second chance opportunities which added to their slow starts.

“We’re trying to stress to them to defend and not give up second chance shots,” Kellogg said, who added if his players don’t improve, they could find themselves watching from the sidelines. “That’s the best attention-getter.

“I really think it’s going to be a good game.”

Kellogg said his team would practice for about an hour Friday before watching the soccer team play Savannah Country Day and Early County and Mitchell-Baker’s basketball teams play Friday night. Most importantly, Kellogg didn’t want his team to be overly stressed about today’s game.

“We want them to relax and get their minds off basketball,” said Kellogg. “We’re not going to do anything different.”

Game time today is 5:30 p.m.

Recommended for you