BETHLEHEM – The Bethlehem Wildcat basketball team faced off with the Blountstown Tigers for the Regional game on February 27 .

After their win against the Cottondale Hornets in the Regional Semi-Final Round on the road to the State Championship, Wildcat fans spent a weekend camped outside of the school with the hopes of getting a ticket to cheer on their team in the Regional game.

Students, parents, grandparents, teachers, and alumni gathered together to support their boys.

“I’m amazed at how one basketball team can unify a community. I am so proud of these boys,” said Nikki Ellenburg, teacher.

“Our small school is the heart of our community, and in our community basketball is not just a game,” said parent and Alumni, Amanda Marshall. “It’s a time when everyone can come together and forget about the rest of the world’s problems for a little while as we cheer on our boys.”

In a packed Gym with standing room only, the District champions fought an evenly matched battle against the Tigers but came up short in the end with a final score of 57-61. The loss was a tough one to accept as six senior boys walked off the basketball court in their Wildcats uniform for the last time.

“The boys left it all on the court with no regrets and nothing by Wildcat pride,” said Leesa Lee, mother to senior player Dillon Lee. “It was an awesome game.”

While the Wildcats’ loss may not have been the outcome they or their fans had hoped for, their hard work, determination, and love of the game brought their small town together.

“It’s the love of the game that grew into the love of this school and community, and while our hearts were broken, we learned that we cannot be broken,” said Assistant Principal, Rosanne Mitchell.

The Varsity Boys Wildcat Team ended their season with overall record of 22-8. This was the first time in 52 years the Bethlehem High School Boys’ Basketball team advanced beyond District games.