After finishing the shortened 2020-21 regular season a perfect 13-0, the Baldwin Bravettes dropped their home playoff opener to Bainbridge Tuesday.
The Baldwin girls, who had been averaging nearly 60 points per game, picked a bad night to have a bad night shooting the basketball as they went just 24% percent from the floor and fell 40-34 to end their season.
The visiting Lady Bearcats of Bainbridge (10-7) held the lead from start to finish, staving off the Bravettes on four different occasions when they got to within two points in the second half. Something else that hurt the host team dearly was its 50% shooting (10-of-20) from the free-throw line. Lady ‘Cat junior center Detavia Salter standing at 6-foot-3 was a force down low, totaling 12 points along with multiple blocks defensively. Midway through the fourth with Bainbridge up 35-33, Salter denied a Baldwin attempt at getting the ball into the post. That turnover created the points that allowed the southwest Georgia school to walk out of James A. Lunsford Gymnasium with a playoff victory.
Junior Tamia Smith led Baldwin in scoring with 13 points on the night with eight of those 13 coming from the charity stripe. She was the outlier for her team as she went 8-for-12 from the line. Senior Nykeisha Thornton had the best shooting night from the floor of any Bravette, finishing with 10 points after going 5-of-11.
Baldwin’s season ends with an unconventional region championship in hand. The Bravettes ran through region competition in the regular season, except for Spalding who had issues with COVID, and Region 4-4A athletic directors voted to forego the region tournament due to the pandemic. The region title went to Baldwin, earning the Bravettes a No. 1 seed. Entering the playoffs, the Baldwin girls had not played a game since their Feb. 5 regular season finale, so the long layoff may have played a role in their rough performance.