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BA finally beats rival Pinewood
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Bulloch Academy’s Arne Bencker goes up for a score against Pinewood Christian Academy Saturday night at BA. - photo by BRYAN R. BURKE/Special to the Herald

    It hadn’t happened in recent history until Saturday night.    

   The Bulloch Academy boys broke Pinewood Christian’s decade-long basketball stranglehold with a 52-46 victory Saturday night. But the Gators had to beat back a furious fourth-quarter comeback effort to take the win.
    The Gators (7-4) held a 17-point lead, 42-25, going into the final quarter and whittled it away to nine late in the game.
    “We built almost a 20-point lead and then we fell asleep,” said BA head coach Chandler Dennard. “When you’ve got good teams down, you have to put them away. We’ve got to keep our foot on the gas pedal and put teams away.”
    Will Jarriel pumped in a 12-footer with 3:19 left in the game to cap a 12-4 run and cut the Gator lead to 46-37. Pinewood scored 21 points in the fourth quarter while Bulloch had 10.
    “Give Pinewood credit,” said Dennard. “They worked hard in the fourth and hit some threes to make it a close game. Anytime you beat a quality opponent it feels really good. Still, we are nowhere near as good as we can be.”
    In the final eight minutes, eighth grader Will Tatum had all eight of his points on the night, including two treys, and senior Dustin Baker had eight of his game-high 21.
    But Bulloch senior Darion Carter upped his play in the fourth, netting eight of his team-high 17 points to propel the Gators past Pinewood for the first time in a long time.
    Bulloch (7-4) came out smoking in the opening quarter, outpointing the Patriots 15-5. The Gators attack-style trap caused numerous turnovers and BA post players Carter and sophomore Paul Son doubled up on Baker. Son and Baker battled it out in the paint while Carter used his cat-quickness and jumping ability to snatch rebounds and score with acrobatic ease.
    Senior Mark Rocker also came off the bench to collect five of his eight points in the quarter and worked hard on defense to help BA get the 10-point advantage.
    But Baker got back to business in the second, scoring six as PCA rallied for 13 points. But the Gators netted 15 more for a 30-18 halftime lead.
    PCA cut the lead to seven, 30-23, early in the third. A Carter dunk with 2:23 left provided emotion for an 8-2 run as Bulloch took a 42-25 lead by the end of three.
    Arne Bencker added 10 points for Bulloch while Son had eight.
    Bulloch begins GISA Region 2-AA play Tuesday when the Trinity Christian Crusaders come at call.

Lady Patriots 43, Lady Gators 25
    Pinewood senior Elizabeth Tatum and junior Whitney Crews ruled the painted square as the Lady Patriots upped their record to 12-0.
    Tatum scored 13 points in limited minutes while Crews added 10 as they, along with Sara Spates, virtually controlled the offensive and defensive glass.
    Still, Bulloch (7-5) fought and battled hard throughout the contest. A tough and aggressive Lady Gator man defense rattled the Lady Patriots in the opening quarter. Pinewood led 8-3 after the first stanza.
    The Lady Patriots went on a 7-0 run in the second for a 15-3 lead. Still, the Lady Gators wouldn’t quit. PCA took a 22-10 halftime lead.
    In the third, Bulloch tried valiantly to power the ball inside but Tatum, Crews and Spates were having none of that. Pinewood went on another 7-0 run for a 29-10 lead. BA junior Addie Reddick canned a 16-footer at the 1:45 mark for the Lady Gators’ only points of the quarter. Then, Pinewood added six more for a 35-12 lead by the end of the third. Reddick led Bulloch with eight points.
     Bulloch 44, Pinewood 38 (B-Team Boys)
    Bulloch came out on fire, opening an 18-4 lead in the first quarter and survived a third-quarter rally for the win.
    Freshman Zach Altany drilled 10 of his team-high 19 points in the win. Altany had four three-point baskets on the night.
    Win Lee added 10 points for the Gators (3-3) while both Stephen Arnold and Robert Stallings scored eight each for Pinewood.

Pinewood 36, Bulloch 13 (B-Team Girls)
    Nine of 11 Lady Patriots scored in this one-sided affair.
    The Lady Gators led by just five after the first quarter but Pinewood outscored BA 12-0 in the second for a 21-4 halftime lead.
    Junior Rebecca Hewitt had a game-high nine points while freshman Hillary Bird added seven. Marianna Peebles led Bulloch with four.