The Bulloch Academy Gators split a pair of region games Friday night at home against Fredrica. The girls cruised to an easy 39-12 victory, while the boys squandered a 12 point halftime lead, losing 54-42.
It looked as though the Gator boys would be able to complete the sweep, as they had little trouble with the Knights in building a 12-point halftime lead. But Frederica regrouped at halftime and outscored the Gators 23-7 in the third quarter to pave the way for its victory.
“It was a region game that we definitely would have won,” said Bulloch Academy coach Chance Cofield. “They turned up the tempo in the second half, and that is not a style we like to play. They also started making shots, while we struggled.”
The Knights' defensive pressure gave the Gators fits in the second half and led to either turnovers or quick forced shots. Fredrica was equally effective on the offensive side of the floor, connecting on six 3- pointers.
One of the keys to the Knights' victory was a 12-2 run they made late in the third quarter. Frederica scored three straight 3- pointers, including a shot from just inside half-court by Eli Fritchman that hit the backboard and went to give the Knights a 37-34 lead.
Fritchman, who stands about 5-7 and 125 pounds, scored 23 points in the game. All 23 points came in the second half. Fritchman also helped seal the deal as he was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.
“We gave up too many open shots there in the second half,” Cofield said. “We are dealing with some illnesses and injuries, nut we were right there with a chance to win a region game. We need some work against the press, and we didn’t do the little things we needed to tonight.”
The Gators actually started the game pretty strong, Chas Collins was a force inside, as he scored 13 of his team high 17 points in the first half. Bo Spence helped pace the Gators from the outside as he hit three shots from behind the arc, and finished with 12 points.
Aside from Collins and Spence, the Gators had trouble scoring. The Gators only got a total of 12 points from the rest of the team, and struggled from the floor in the second half. Fredrica actually outscored Bulloch Academy 40-15 in the second half.
“We have to do a better job of trying to dictate the tempo,” Cofield said. “We still have our region goals intact. We just have to learn from this game, and move on.”
The Bulloch Academy Lady Gators were able to get plenty of rest for their starters, who didn’t even play a whole quarter of play before head coach Chandler Dennard pulled them for the rest of the game.
They weren’t really needed as the Gator reserves actually built the lead, and held Fredrica to only three points, and one field goal the entire second half.
“We knew that Frederica has been struggling this year, and out starters wouldn’t play much,” Dennard said. “This was a chance to give the girl’s that work hard every day in practice an opportunity to play. I feel like they did a pretty good job out there.”
The Knights are a shell of the team that actually knocked off the Gators last year in the regular season. Gone are twin towers Jadyn and Jada Scott, who are now playing for the University of Cincinnati. Frederica came into Friday night’s game 0-13 on the season and were outmatched by the 15-2 Gators from the start.
Bulloch Academy raced out to a 21-6 lead on the strength of three buckets from long range from Kacie Ricketts. The Gators starters came out before the end of the first quarter, and led 27-9 at the half.
The Gator reserves did a good job of running the offense, but an even better job of playing defense, as the Knights made only one field goal in the second half.
“Players like Sophie Strickland and Sophie Walls are going to have to be our backcourt next year,” Dennard said. “Hey show some promise, and we looked pretty good in the post at times tonight as well.”
The win improves the Gators' overall record to 16-2, and they are a perfect 3-0 in region competition. Up next comes a showdown with Pinewood Chrisday on Tuesday at 6 p.m.