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BA deals Westminster first loss

    The Bulloch Academy boys’ basketball team must have been wearing rubber track spikes as hard and as fast as the Gators zipped up and down the court Friday night.
    Bulloch Academy used its speed, quickness and stamina to wear down previously-unbeaten Westminister of Augusta Wildcats in the fourth quarter and take a hard-fought 58-48 upset victory.
    With the score knotted 26-26 at intermission, BA head boys’ basketball coach Chandler Dennard could tell his well-conditioned squad had the opportunity to prevail down the stretch.
    “We had done a good job pushing the ball on offense and had gotten them tired,” said Dennard. “We had a good player rotation going and they were only running six. I told the guys at halftime to keep pushing the ball up the court on offense and making them work hard for points on defense. We wore them out.”
    Bulloch (4-2) took a one-point lead, 42-41, at the end of the third quarter but it was the final eight minutes when the Gators sealed the deal.
    The Gators took a four-point advantage midway through the quarter. At the 2:55 mark, junior point guard Arne Bencker knocked down both free throws to give BA a 50-44 lead. The German exchange student led the Bulloch with 13 points.
    The six-point lead turned to eight and then to 10 as Bulloch pulled away the Class AAA Wildcats (10-1). Bulloch outscored Westminster 16-7 down the stretch for the win.
    Senior guard Jordan Walker added 10 for the Gators will classmate Mark Rocker had nine and both Will Powell and Darion Carter had eight each.
    “That type of balanced scoring is what we are looking for,” said Dennard. “Tonight was about team basketball. That’s the best we’ve looked all season, teamwise, on both offense and defense. That was a good win for us.”
    Westminster’s Marcus Tebbs had a game-high 16 while Henni Belscheidt netted 13 and Chris Robinson added 10.
    The contest quickly turned into a track meet as both squads raced up and down the floor. Both the Gators and the Wildcats scored 10 points each in the opening eight minutes and 16 each in the second for the halftime stalemate.
    Bulloch hosts Brentwood today at 4:30 p.m.

Lady Gators 48, Lady Wildcats 41
    The Lady Gators came out of the locker room in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Wildcats 17-5 for a 10-point lead after three quarters and holding on for the upset win.
    “The girls were relentless in the second half,” said BA head girls’ basketball coach Paul Webb. “That’s what we talked about before the game and again at halftime. We talked about playing 32 minutes relentlessly. We were down two, 18-16, at the half. We came out hard in the third and applied so much pressure that we just wore them down.”
    In the quarter, sophomore Heaven Hinton scored six and junior Kaylee Lanier added seven as the Bulloch defense held the Lady Wildcats’ top two scorers to just a three-point field goal in the eight-minute span.
    Westminster’s Katelyn Matthai scored a game-high 20 points and teammate Lauren Synder added 17 on the night. But in the third quarter, Synder had a three-pointer and Matthai was held scoreless.
    “I thought it was the best defensive effort of the year,” said Webb. “We played very good team defense.”
    Bulloch (6-2) used a stifling backcourt trap to cause havoc with the Westminster ball handlers. Turnovers held the Lady Gators go on a 9-0 run as they opened a 25-18 lead midway through the quarter.
    Westminster (9-2) did outpoint BA by three in the final quarter but the damage had already been done.
    Senior Abi Foy led the Lady Gators with nine points. Junior Kinsley Mallard added eight as classmates Kaylee Lanier and Addie Reddick had seven each.
    The Bulloch girls host the Lady Eagles of Brentwood today at 3 p.m.

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