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BA hangs tough with Stratford
BA BB 01-12-2008 004
Bulloch Academy's Rachael Gilbert drives to the basket against Stratford Academy Saturday night. - photo by BRYAN BURKE/Special to the Herald
    Bulloch Academy held a three-point lead over Class AAA powerhouse Stratford Academy late in the fourth quarter but the Eagles canned 10-of-11 free throws to escape with a 49-42 win Saturday night.
    Stratford (12-4) got more than it bargained for from the scrappy Gators as the Eagles took just a point lead, 19-18, into the locker room at halftime. But the Eagles went on a tear in the third to soar to a semi-comfortable lead.
    BA head coach Chandler Dennard inserted three-point specialist Zach Altany into the game late in the quarter. The freshman responded with five quick points to help the Gators pull to within five, 34-29, at the end of the quarter.
    In the fourth, Bulloch (8-5) slowed the tempo down and got patient on offense early, which was followed by a frenzy of Gator points late.
    After a Stratford bucket, Bulloch swung the ball around the wings for what seemed like minutes. Senior Darion Carter finally saw an opening and attacked down low for a hard layup to make the contest a five-point game. Carter led all Bulloch scorers with 10 points.
    When the Eagles came down the floor, senior Mark Rocker notched a steal and rocketed a pass to Altany. The youngster pounded a three-pointer at the 4:42 mark to cut the SA lead to two, 36-34. Both Rocker and Altany, who was making his first major varsity debut, had eight each.
    On the next trip, fellow senior Will Powell was the thief and took the ball for a coast-to-coast layup at the 4:25 mark to knot the score at 36-36. The Gators took a 38-36 lead with 3:14 left with a Carter putback.
    But the Gators, already mentally and physically drained from a frantic 65-63 loss to Frederica Academy Friday night at St. Simons Island, couldn’t pull it out.
    Stratford’s Sims Holmes hit a three pointer and Paul Holmes hit two free throws as the Eagles retook the lead, 41-38 with 1:25 left.
    Even though Powell canned two pressure free throws with 24.1 seconds remaining to make it a three-point game, 43-40, it was Paul Holmes, David O’Shaunghnessey and Hayes Hofstadter who combined for 10-of-11 free throws down the stretch for the win.
    O’Shaunghessey led all scorers with 21 points. The junior forward was virtually unstoppable on offense and a formidable foe for Carter and sophomore center Paul Son.
    The Gators travel to Waynesboro Tuesday night to battle Region 2-AA foe Edmund Burke Academy.
No. 1 Lady Eagles 50, Lady Gators 24
    Senior Virginia Hirschey scored 17 second-half points as she helped Stratford pull away from a determined bunch of Lady Gators.
    The Lady Eagles held just an eight-point lead at intermission, 16-8, as the Bulloch girls battled hard with Class AAA’s number one team. Bulloch junior Addie Reddick tied the score at 6-6 with an eight-foot jumper early in the second quarter. Reddick led Bulloch (8-7) with eight points with classmate Kaylee Lanier had six.
    Stratford (16-0) opened the third quarter with an 11-0 run to take a 27-8 lead. BA senior Abi Foy stopped the Lady Gator drought with a short jumper at the 4:25 mark. The Eaglettes continued improve their lead and took a 36-17 advantage by the end of the quarter.
    SA outscored BA 14-7 in the fourth.