It always seems like every season has a play that symbolizes the way it goes. For the East Georgia Bobcats, they got that moment in the GCAA Championship game against Chattahoochee Tech.
It wasn’t the alley-oop dunk from Jon Blair late in the game with the Golden Eagles closing the game and having momentum, or the inbounds-pass steal and layup by Trey Hagood immediately afterwards.
As crazy as it sounds, it wasn’t Conference Player of the Year Jordan Johnson knocking down a big three-pointer during another run by the Golden Eagles, or the clutch free throws he and Larry Bullock hit down the stretch.
It wasn’t Brian Pearson working for put-backs over and over again down low for the Bobcats throughout the game, or D.J. Felder asserting himself as the best player in the post with his fadeaways and hook shots.
In a game in which the Bobcats got out to a 15-point lead at halftime, and 18 at one point in the second half, it was the final play that stood out to me.
After Johnson knocked down a free throw to give the Bobcats a 74-71 lead with six seconds left, the Golden Eagles tossed their in-bounds pass to Sean Tate who moved the ball quickly up the court. As he crossed half court, the Bobcats, led by Conference Defensive Player of the Year Hagood, smothered him with pressure and forced him to lose possession of the ball, not even allowing the Golden Eagles to get a shot off as time ran out and the Bobcats players and fans rushed the floor.
In my opinion, the play is the perfect symbol for the Bobcats season.
As a team that at times saw its leads slowly dwindle down late in games, they were always able to pull off the victory when it mattered most. Well, the Golden Eagles had made run after run, led by so many big shots by Malcolm Riley, and just simply would not fall back late in the game, putting pressure on the Bobcats to finish strong. That’s exactly what they did.
The Bobcats found a way to continue playing this season. They found a way just four years into the program’s existence, and three years as a member of the GCAA, to win the conference crown.
Now the “Beast” Georgia Bobcats find themselves heading to Hutchinson, Kansas for the NJCAA National Tournament, where they hope to continue to find a way to pull off victories, and find a way to raise a national title banner in the Bobcat Den.