When you’re the 6th ranked team in all of Junior College Men’s Basketball, you’re supposed to win your 1st round playoff game. Well, the EGSC Men did that, but it certainly wasn’t easy. The Bobcats won their opening playoff game over the Central Georgia Tech Cougars, 86 – 77, to move on to the Regional Semi-Finals Friday night at 7:30pm and will host local rival, the #4 seeded Middle Georgia State Warriors.
The Bobcats led for most of the game, but the Cougars never let the Bobcats pull away. From the opening tip, the Cougars used an aggressive, up-tempo style that kept the Bobcats from getting comfortable. But, with the help of sharp-shooting ace Jordan Johnson, EGSC maintained a 41-40 halftime lead, capped off by a Johnson 3-point field goal to close the half. Johnson would tally 35 points in all on the night, with 5 3FG, and the Bobcats needed them all.
As the East Georgia Men returned for the 2nd half, they would have to play the rest of the game without the services of Larry Bullock and Coco Brown, both key cogs in the sustained success of Coach Neil Bailey’s squad. Bullock and Brown’s teammates would step up in their absence, led by Johnson, and Regional Defensive POY Tre’ Hagood and All-Conference Post DJ Felder. Hagood filled the stat page as usual with 13 points, 5 boards, 4 assists and 3 steals. Felder helped control the paint with 11 points, 5 boards, 2 block shots and a couple assists of his own. Also helping Felder down low were fellow post players Brian Pearson with a team leading 7 rebounds and Jalen Watson with 5 boards.
Half way through the 2nd half the Bobcats would extend their led to 17 points, 63-46. Central Ga. Tech would come right back and cut the lead back down to five, led by SF Tyler Kendrick’s 23 point and 6 rebound effort. Though, the Cougars competed all night, they couldn’t find a way to keep Region POY Johnson from finding open shots. Once the game clock was against the Cougars late in the 2nd half, the Bobcats did the job of making their free throws, making 31 for 40 for the game, with a nice addition of 6 out of 6 from Alex Reid off the bench. Reid sank four of six in the final minute to close the Cougars.
Bailey’s Bobcats, now with Middle Georgia State ahead of them in couple of days, finished the game with a chant from the packed gymnasium of, “Beast Georgia”. Obviously, a play of words but, with the hard-nosed style of defense intensity and complete team play on offense, Bailey’s team gives the chant credence. This Friday night in Swainsboro at East Georgia State’s Gym, Bailey hopes to continue his team’s trend of “beastly” play.
Written by: Brad Childers, EGSC Head Women's Basketball Coach