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Bulloch boys breeze through opening round of state
BA Basketball
Bulloch Academy's Rodney Hill (15) goes up for a layup in the fourth quarter of the Gators' state playoff win over Westminster on Wednesday. - photo by JOSH AUBREY

It wasn't quite Michael Jordan’s flu game — in which the legendary Hall of Famer scored 38 points while battling the flu in the 97 playoffs — but Bulloch Academy senior Pierless Brown had 21 points after battling illness this week to help lead Bulloch Academy to a 58-48 win over Westminster in the opening round of the GISA playoffs.

Brown missed school Tuesday, and came to school long enough Wednesday in order to play in the Gators home playoff game against Westminster, who handed Bulloch Academy their first loss of the regular season.

“He missed school and practice this week,” Cofield said. “He wasn’t himself for much of the game, but he finally found his legs in the second half, just when we needed him. It was a heck of an effort.”

Brown shook off a sluggish start to score 14 of his 21 points in the second half, but it may have been freshman Rodney Hill who stole the show in the second half. Hill scored three three pointers in the third quarter and gave the Gators their first lead of the game at 39-38 late in the third quarter.

“Rodney Hill played another great game on offense, and defense,” Cofield said. “He gives us a spark with his energy off the bench, and he hit some clutch shots for us tonight.”

Brown put things away in the fourth. Leading 45-44 Brown buried back to back three pointers, extending the Gator lead to 51-44 with 3:22 left in the game.

The Gators trailed for nearly three quarters of the game. Ice cold shooting put the Gators in a 16-6 hole to start the game. Don Aaron helped lead a charge in the second quarter scoring eight of his 16 points, and helping to cut the lead to 20-19. Westminster was able to extend their lead to 25-19 at the half.

“It’s a state playoff game, and we may have been a little nervous there in the beginning,” Cofield said. “We played well enough on defense to keep us in the ballgame. I figured the shots would eventually start falling. Our motto is survive and advance, and we are moving on.”

Brown led the way with 21 points, followed by Aaron with 15 and Hill with 15. Luke Hartenberg led Westminster with 16 points.

The Gators now advance to the GISA quarterfinals and will take on Tiftarea Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Stratford High School in Macon.