Saturday’s final 2019-20 regular season game had a little bit of everything for fans of GMC Prep boys basketball.
The Bulldogs (14-6 overall, 10-4 region) treated supporters to a lopsided region victory featuring several highlight reel worthy plays while the fans responded with their all, including a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” from the student section. Ten different GMC Prep players scored on the night to lead their team to a 92-50 win over visiting Aquinas, marking a season high in points by the ‘Dogs this season.
The performance could provide a little momentum heading into this week’s Region 7-A tournament, which the GMC boys will enter as a second seed.
“That team may not be as good as the Aquinas we’ve known the last couple of years, but it was a big victory for us anyway,” GMC Prep head coach James Lunsford said after the game. “We got a chance to play all of our kids, which I thought was great. We had some good spots and some not-so-good spots, but we’re happy to win.”
Prior to the game, Lunsford’s two seniors, JaDarius Warren and Armanius White, were recognized for suiting up for their final home game as Bulldogs. White was on hand, but could not play due to illness. His classmate Warren provided more than enough scoring for the two of them though as he led the Bulldogs with 22 points on the night. The Fighting Irish were just plain overmatched as all it took were Warren and two other players to outscore Aquinas in the matchup. Sophomore Keith Robbins finished with 19 points on the night while Christian Burnett had 16 shooting 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Robbins and fellow sophomore Jabari Dixon electrified the Cordell Events Center crowd with three collective third-quarter dunks. Dixon got the party started by slamming home his own steal and Robbins followed with two of his own, one each of the two-handed and one-handed varieties. His second jam was the one that spurred the GMC Prep student section into singing “Happy Birthday” since the sophomore was celebrating his 16th over the weekend.
The GMC Prep win coupled with a Lincoln County loss to Hancock Central Saturday handed the Bulldogs one of two No. 2 seeds entering the Region 7-A tournament. Hancock holds the one seed on GMC Prep’s side of the region while Wilkinson County has the other.
Asked how he feels about his team’s play heading into the region tournament, Lunsford replied, “I think we’re playing better. We’re a young group, and sometimes success is our enemy, but I'm real happy with the progress we’re making. We’ll have 14 of these guys back next year, so we might have a pretty good team in the future too.”
The GMC Prep boys open the region tournament at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday against Mount de Sales and the entire Region 7-A boys tournament will be played at Hancock Central in Sparta. The semifinals, finals and consolation games will be played over the course of Friday and Saturday.