Bulldogs’ title run inspired by Gordon’s fight

Coach suffered stroke in June, has been with team in reserved role since November

Beach's title run inspired by Gordon's fight

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - After earning their spot in the state championship game the Beach Bulldog girls basketball team said they felt overlooked all year.

But the Dogs will head to Macon with something else motivating them even more than just proving everyone wrong.

All season, it’s been Matthew Hawthorne acting as the Beach interim head coach, helping lead the Dogs to the brink of the program’s third state championship.

But even he’ll tell you: he’s just standing in for Olufemi Gordon...

Matthew Hawthorne (standing) has served as Beach's interim coach all season. Gordon (seated, far right) has been with the team as much as possible, though in a reserved role as she recovers.
Matthew Hawthorne (standing) has served as Beach's interim coach all season. Gordon (seated, far right) has been with the team as much as possible, though in a reserved role as she recovers. (Source: WTOC)

Gordon suffered a stroke in late June. She went back to school in November and has been with the team since, though in a more reserved role as she recovers.

The Bulldogs call Gordon the team’s mother and her fight back an inspiration as they chase a championship.

“When she came back, it was tough. We were all down, because we thought she wasn’t going to be herself," admits sophomore forward Ameyah Dantzler. "But now that we see she’s doing better and everything, we just want to do it for her and make her proud.”

“They all said they’re playing for you. They want to win for you. What does that mean to you?" asks WTOC Sports Director Jake Wallace.

“It means a lot...” Gordon says, fighting back tears. "It feels good that they want to win for me. but I just want to win.”

Gordon says she’s about 70 percent back to her pre-stroke self and will be back on the sideline with the team when they play Greater Atlanta Christian for the state championship Thursday in Macon.

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