The Bulloch Academy Gators split a pair of games Monday night at home against Hilton Head Christian. The Boys won their second straight game with a 70-49 victory, while the girls lost their first game of the season falling by a final count of 48-34.
The Bulloch Academy boys have struggled from the outside for most of the season, but have found some success in their recent two wins. Monday night Cam Harrison provided the long range accuracy in the first half with three triples and 11 points. Bo Spence was knocking down three pointers in the second half with three himself, and 13 second half points to help pave the way for the win.
“That’s what we have been missing this year, an outside shooting threat,” said Bulloch Academy coach Chance Cofield. “Cam and Bo provided that for us tonight. I also feel like we really moved the ball around nicely. Bo has really been effective coming off the bench for us the past few games and providing offense.”
The Gators hot shooting from outside also helped free up the paint, and the Gators were able to exploit that for some easy baskets inside. Bulloch Academy controlled the glass, and easily outrebounded the Eagles. Miller Pope scored 14 points with 11 rebounds, and Chas Collins adding 13 points and 8 boards.
“When you have a 6-7 and a 6-5 post player we should control the rebounding, and be able to score in the post,” Cofield said. “Tonight we got that from Miller Pope and Chas Collins. Hopefully we can build on this kind of performance and get things rolling.”
The Gators actually trailed early in the game 11-6, but then went on an 18-2 run to grab a 24-13 lead in the second quarter. The Gators went on to lead 35-24 at the half, and then pulled away with a 13-2 run early in the second half.
A balanced Gator scoring attack was led by Pope with 14 points. Collins and Spence each had 13 points, while Harrison added 11 points. J.P. Peduzzi led the way for Hilton Head Christian with 12 points.
The Bulloch Academy Lady Gators may have lost on the scoreboard, but head coach Chandler Dennard felt after the game that the lessons learned in the Gators 48-34 loss, were much more beneficial than what the Gators won in their 60-6 win this past weekend against Memorial Day.
“We need to play more teams like Hilton Head Christian,” Dennard said. “They show you what kind of things you need to work on in order to get better. I don’t really care about losses in our non region schedule as long as we are learning from them.”
Taking on the defending state champs in SCISA, the Gators finally ran into a team with more size and athleticism. The Eagles held a significant height advantage, and used that to pound the Gators on the glass, particularly in the second half.
The Eagles also applied constant man-to-man pressure on the Gators for the entire game, causing a number of turnovers, The Gators were able to keep within striking distance for most of the game, and cut the lead to 10 late on a Kacie Ricketts breakaway layup and foul.
“When these games can be trouble is when your team quits, I didn’t see that from our girls tonight,” Dennard said. “We continued to try and battle back, and had a chance to get it to single digits if a layup falls there in the second half.”
The Eagles jumped out to an early 10-2 lead, and maintained that advantage for most of the game. The Gators trailed 24-10 at the half with six of their 10 points coming off inbounds plays. In the second half the Eagle lead extended to as many as 18 points, before the Gators finally chipped away and got within 10.
“We got more out of this than we did in our first seven games,” Dennard said. “That is the best defense we have played all year. I felt we hung with them on the glass in the first half, but they exposed some things we need to work on with boxing out in the second half.”
Kacie Ricketts led the way with 13 points, while Leah Williford added nine points for the Gators. Hilton Head Christian was led by Jasmine Campbell with 14 points.
The loss drops the Gators to 9-1 on the season. Up next Bulloch Academy hosts a four team round robin tournament Friday and Saturday Friday they play Notre Dame Academy at 5:00 with the boys playing at 6:30. Saturday the Gators host Robert Toombs with the gors game at 1:00, and the boys at 2:30 p.m.