Devon Baulkman poured in a game-high 33 points Friday night to lead the Bainbridge Bearcats to a 68-59 victory over the Evans High School Knights in the Sweet 16 round of the Class AAAA basketball tournament.
The Bearcats took an early 6-0 lead on a jumper by Baulkman, a driving shot in the lane by Justin Harris and two free throws by Rodney Glenn.
Justin Black hit a jumper in the lane to cut it to 6-2, but Baulkman countered with a long 3-point jumper to push the advantage out to seven, at 9-2.
The Knights then scored the next seven points to pull even. Evans point guard Trevor Foreman hit free throws at the 3:21 and 2:07 marks, then Tony Davis, who led the Knights with 23 points, made a layup, was fouled and hit a free throw at the 1:23 mark. Davis completed the run with two free throws at 1:02.
A layup and jumper by Bainbridge's Justin Harris in the last minute of the quarter sent the Bearcats to the second quarter with a 13-9 lead.
Consecutive 3-point jumpers by James Hudson and Harris, who was second in the Bearcats' scoring column with 12, at the beginning of the second quarter quickly moved the Bearcats' lead out to eight, at 19-8. The Knights outscored the Bearcats 9-6 the rest of the quarter to go to halftime with a 27-25 lead.
The turning point in the game came early in the third quarter with the Knights on top 37-30. The Bearcats quickly went on a 9-0 run to take a 39-37 lead.
Bearcats head coach Rickey McCullough said the go-ahead third-quarter run was sparked by an effective press after Shawn Samuels came into the game at the post.
"Shawn Samuels is an undersized post, and when he comes into the game, we go to our press," McCullough said. "When he came in tonight, we started getting turnovers and cutting down the lead."
The run began with Samuels hitting a layup off the glass to cut the lead to 37-32 with 2:59 left in the third quarter. Harris' layup off the glass at the 2:40 mark cut it to 37-34, then Baulkman's 3-point jumper from beyond the head of the key with 2:26 left tied it 37-37.
Harris' layup off the glass then put the Bearcats ahead to stay. They were ahead 42-39 after three quarters. Bainbridge went up by 11 with 56 seconds remaining after Baulkman hit two field goals.
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