The Thomson High Bulldogs won the Region 3-AAA Boys Basketball Championship in tournament action at Burke County High School last weekend. The Dogs prevailed over Glenn Hills 57-48 in Saturday's championship game. They defeated Hephzibah 51-46 in the semi-final round on Friday and Jefferson County 61-45 in Thursday's opening contest.
Now with a record of 21-6, the Bulldogs gave Coach Michael Thomas his seventh region tournament championship since he took over the program in 1982. THS will now host Crisp County this Saturday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. in the first ever state playoff basketball game held on its home court. The GHSA implemented a new system this year where region champions and runners-up will play opening round state games in their own gyms.
The Bulldogs quickly jumped to an 8-2 lead over Glenn Hills behind the inside play of Ivan Eberhardt. Glenn Hills adjusted to close off the lane and took a 27-25 halftime lead.
Coach Thomas assigned Dan Ivey to shadow Glenn Hills shooting guard Antonio Keller in the second half. This ploy held Keller scoreless after he dropped in 16 in the first half. Offensively, Ivey's fellow seniors, James Farmer and Terry Hill took over, especially in the fourth quarter.
Farmer, obviously playing with a new lease on life, drained five three pointers to contribute to his game total of 19. Terry Hill was the team's leading scorer with 20 points while Eberhardt chipped in with 12 points and a staggering 14 rebounds. Farmer scored 57 points and Hill 50 points for the entire tournament.
Coach Thomas told the exuberant Bulldogs after the game, "I didn't goof you up and you stayed the course through a couple of droughts." He also reminded the team that their ultimate goal, state tournament success, was still ahead of them.
This Bulldog team is a senior laden squad that is poised and well balanced. Each member provides a valuable contribution to the team in some way. There is no question that Farmer, Hill and Eberhardt have college level basketball abilities, but every player does his job. Ivey, Michael Thomas, Jr., Cordaro Crawford, Rico Murray, Carlton Latimer, Randy Jones and Brian Massey all play key roles.
Coach Thomas is doing a good job of preparing this squad during practices and allowing them to operate within a system in the games. They are not a run-and-gun, Globetrotter type squad. I would not describe the team as overly athletic, but they demonstrate solid basketball skills and training.
Reports from south Georgia indicate that Crisp Co. is a run-and-gun outfit. They are led by Georgia Tech signee, 6'2" Lewis Clinch. Clinch, who wears jersey number 4, averages thirty points per game and lit Worth Co. up for 54 points in one game earlier this season. The Cougars have 17 wins and 8 losses and have never won a region championship in basketball.
Thomson High School fans will get a last chance to see the Bulldogs play at home this Saturday night at 7 p.m. The state tournament will move to Albany and Macon for the next three rounds. This team deserves a packed house to help them to victory. There will be no girls' game so arrive early for a good seat.