The South Central Association champion Thayer Bobcats ended the 2009 season on a high note by knocking off the Gainesville Bulldogs 55-48 Feb. 24.
It was also senior night and the school honored cheerleader Ashley Mead and basketball players Ryan Veatch, Blake Allen, Gaston Orahood, Luke Martin, Lance Schneider and Jacob Eckman, who played their last home game for the Cats.
In a close matchup early, the Bulldogs showed a lot of speed and accuracy from the arc to stay even, and then Gainesville pulled ahead of Thayer (20-3).
The Bobcats, ranked eighth in Class 2, got good pressure on the ball out front from Veatch, but the well-coached and lanky three-guard set for the Bulldogs passed around the perimeter to find and sink open 3-point shots.
Eckman held his position over the Bulldogs' big man under the bucket, while the long arms of Martin battled for every rebound.
Martin was also accurate from the free throw line early in the game, helping to add to the Bobcat point total.
The quickness of Schneider's defense resulted in a couple of kicked passes and one pass snatched out of the air for the Cats.
Both the Bobcats, the Bulldogs and even the fans, seemed a little flat in a low, balanced-scoring first half.
Schneider woke up the crowd as he sank a 3-point bucket from the top of the key as the intermission buzzer sounded, putting the Bobcats on top 22-21.
The Bobcats got good point production down low from Martin in the third quarter, while Eckman stepped out to nail one from 12 feet.
Justin Shipp did some "shakin' and bakin'" to find open spots, as the Bobcats gained a 12-point advantage in the third.
Gainesville gradually cut that deficit with some quick outside shots and one putback down low from the big man in the paint.
The Bulldogs only had two fouls on the board, so they needed to start sending the Cats to the foul line early to be able to stop the clock.
The Bobcats had a good made percentage of their freebies in the first half, but had problems down the stretch, missing six in a row from the charity stripe at one point.