Thomson boys basketball coach Michael Thomas leafed through the scorebook that summarized his 29th year with the Bulldogs.
He allowed himself a half a smile on the 22 victories, which included his 500th career victory midseason. But his mind was on one 4-point loss and what might have been.
“We didn’t go as far as we wanted to go,” he said Monday. “But we were right there.”
“There” was Eagle’s Landing. “There” was the first round of the state playoffs. “There” was two buckets short of overtime.
He talked about the team’s effort. He did not talk about the l06-mile drive. He talked about the parents and how they had been there for the team all year. He talked about the eight seniors he would be losing.
He talked about those who would become seniors, and about what they might accomplish. There’s a junior varsity, he said, and a C team. The seniors have to graduate, he said; you want them to graduate. But then others step up to take that responsibility. That’s how a good program works, he said.
For the record, Thomson trailed 13-11 after one quarter, and fell behind 34-27 at the half. After three, the Bulldogs had closed the gap to 47-42. In the final quarter, they made up one more point. But, at the buzzer, the most important numbers were 57 and 53.
Antonio Coleman led Thomson scoring with 13 points. Sherrod Hart and Ronkeem Sallywhite each had 10. Antonio Moss was held to eight points, and high scoring Jonathan Atkins was held to four. Isaiah Dennis led Eagle’s Landing, with 13 points.
The individual scores of Game 28 had not been totaled, and Thomas was deflecting questions about another team and another year.
He couldn’t quite let go of February 2012. “We won’t really know how we rated this season until after the state tournament,” he said.
The Bulldogs narrowly lost to a team that had lost only three times all year.
The Eagles were ranked No. 2 in Class AAA after their 23-2 regular season. They were scheduled to leave their McDonough field house Wednesday, to take on Central Macon in Round 2 of the state tourney.
And the Eagles’ success might mean the ’Dogs had lost to the very best. Thomas, and his team, would be watching. And he might allow himself another half a smile.
Asked whether he will be back to coach another team toward another dream, he answered, “Yes, sir, if the Good Lord’s willing.”