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Bulloch Academy basketball teams split games against Briarwood
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    Bulloch Academy sophomores Addie Reddick and Kaylee Lanier were listed as small forwards in the Lady Gator scorebook.
    Undersized was a better description as they faced off against Briarwood Academy’s tall girls, Cassie Pickrell and Olivia Lyons.
    But the highly-competitive and aggressive BA classmates played like six-footers, battlinghard in the paint and netting 15 points each to lift the Lady Gators over the Bucs in a thrilling 42-40 victory.
    “I thought this was Kaylee’s best game of the season,” said Bulloch head coach Paul Webb. “I’ve really been waiting for her to play like this. Addie is our most consistent player on the squad and she played another great ballgame. I think they both knew how important it was to stop Pickrell.”
    In the boys game, Briarwood avenged an early-season upset by taking a second-quarter lead and not looking back, downing the Gators 42-31.
    In the opener, the Bulloch girls (4-4) got out to an early first-quarter lead but soon lost it with poor shooting from the field and numerous turnovers. Briarwood (1-4) took a 13-7 advantage at the end of the opening stanza and increased it to 25-17 by halftime. Reddick kept the Lady Gators close by hitting 5 of 8 free throws in the half. Pickrell had five of her team-high 15 points while Whitney Carani added four of her 11.
    The Lady Buccaneers maintained a seven-point lead early in the third quarter but Bulloch began to mount a comeback. BA cut the lead to three, 28-25, at the 3:40 mark when Kaylee Lanier pushed in a two-footer, Kacie Lanier stole the inbounds pass and Kelcie Jacobs canned a short jumper.
    Then, it was almost as if a switch flipped in Kaylee Lanier.
    “She hit some really key baskets,” Webb said of her nine-point performance in the third. “In the quarter, we made an adjustment and went to a full-court man press, which I thought gave Briarwood some problems. I thought our girls just picked up their intensity from the start of the third to the very end of the game.”
     At the 1:35 mark, she gave the Lady Gators a 34-32 lead when she drove the lane, tossed up a shot and got fouled. Her basket counted and she calmly hit the extra shot for the three-point play. The third ended with BA up 36-34.
    Lanier went to the bench with her fourth foul midway through the quarter. But Jacobs, a freshman guard, stepped it up with good defensive play and smart ball-handling decisions. Reddick was tough to beat while freshmen forwards Heaven Hinton and Sally Smith played strong roles in Lanier’s absence.
    Briarwood knotted the score at 40-40 with 3:20 left. Both squads bled the clock. Reddick canned a pair from the line at the 1:48 mark for a 42-40 lead. Briarwood had a chance to tie the game but Carani missed both of her free throws with 40 seconds left and her shot at the buzzer clanged off the front of the rim.
    In the finale, Bulloch (2-4) took a 7-5 lead at the end of the first eight minutes, but Briarwood (4-1) outpointed the Gators 13-6 to take an 18-13 halftime lead.
    The Buccaneers, still steamed about a seven-point loss at home in late November, were led in the second by Davis Griffen, who had six of this team-high 12. The five-point lead increased to seven by the end of the third. Briarwood slowly pulled away in the fourth.
    Bulloch’s Will Powell had a game-high 13 points while Jordan Walker added nine.
    Bulloch Academy embarks on a Christmas road trip to Atlanta this weekend, taking on Dominion Christian Friday night in Marietta before facing Mount Vernon Presbyterian Saturday afternoon.