Cedartown basketball faces tough tasks this afternoon, as both the boys and girls will compete in the region tournament.
For the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs, though, they are in a position that everyone within the program saw coming in the preseason.
Early this year, girls coach Eddie Gambrell and boys coach Benjie Frazier each hammered home the fact that this season the teams would have higher expectations than they have had in a long time. The culmination of those high hopes will come together tonight at Cartersville High School.
The Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs are both taking on teams they have swept this year: the boys tip off at 5:30 p.m. versus Chapel Hill and the girls start at 7 p.m. against Cartersville.
For the Lady Bulldogs, this season has been their best yet under fourth-year Head Coach Eddie Gambrell; entering tonight’s matchups, they sit at 15-8 overall, and 7-5 in region play, good enough to finish third in Region 5-4A. Per MaxPreps, this is the most wins in a single season for the Cedartown girls basketball program since 2009-10, when they finished 16-11 and won 6B-AAA.
The team headed up by senior Tamera Beeman and sophomores Keke Turner and Qiana Watson is hard-to-stop when they get on a roll. They are coming off a 14-point victory at Chapel Hill on Saturday night.
Cedartown defeated Cartersville both times they played this season, winning 49-36 in Cedartown on Jan. 4 and 46-45 at Cartersville on a Qiana Watson buzzer beater back on Jan. 19.
Recently, the single-elimination region tournament has not been good to the Lady Bulldogs: they lost to Central 54-51 in overtime after blowing a huge halftime lead last year, and the year prior fell by 2 to Central.
It is always difficult to defeat a team the third time around, but that is exactly what the third-seed Lady Bulldogs will attempt to do against the sixth-seed Lady Canes.
The narrative is more of the same for the boys squad. The Bulldogs are 12-13 on the year and 5-7 against Region 5-4A opponents, tying last year’s win total through the regular season. This time around, though, Cedartown’s boys will try to overcome the bad luck that plagued them in the 2018 region tournament. In the first round matchup, the Bulldogs lost 46-32 to Troup County, in a game where they were without both senior starters- TJ Martin and Trevon Wofford both were dealing with illnesses.
The boys team will also look to defeat their opponent for the third time this season, having defeated Chapel Hill 53-52 at home on Jan. 18 before narrowly escaping the Panthers in overtime 77-76 on Saturday night. Should the fourth-seed Bulldogs triumph over the fifth-seed Panthers, they would clinch their first playoff spot in over a decade.
Whichever team wins tonight’s games move on to the second round, which will be played Friday afternoon at Sandy Creek. However, that is the last thing on the minds of each Cedartown team.
They are closer to a playoff berth than they have been in years, and will look to avenge tough losses in last year’s tournament. For those unable to make the drive to Bartow County this evening, WGAA Radio will broadcast both games with the Bulldogs starting at 5:30 and the Lady Bulldogs to follow at 7 p.m.