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Gator boys advance in GISA state playoffs
BA hoops
Bulloch Academy's Ryan Swanson is harassed by Bethlehem's Simon Steele, left, on a first quarter drive on Wednesday, Feb. 24. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

The Bulloch Academy Gators continue to be the cardiac kids but pulled off another come from behind victory as they got a game-high 27 points from Ryan Swanson and knocked off Bethlehem Christian 56-53 Wednesday night at Gator Alley.

“We were playing a team for the first time, and it took us a little while to figure out what they had,” said Bulloch Academy coach Chance Cofield. “We had a chance to pull away a couple times, but we just were unable to. We have done this a lot lately but it’s all about surviving and advancing and I will take the win.”

Bulloch Academy has won their last three games after trailing with less than three minutes to go in the game. Wednesday night was no exception. Trailing 40-39 at the end of the third the fourth quarter dramatics would continue.

The Gators started the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run to grab a 45-40 lead. Bethlehem Christian would then go on a 10-2 run to take a 50-47 lead with less than 3:00 to go. Swanson would tie the game with a three-pointer moments later. Kam Harrison then came through with a steal and a layup and the Gators never trailed again.

“That shot from Ryan was huge,” said Cofield. “He has continued to step up when we need him, and he sure did that again for us tonight.”

While Cofield would rather not continue to find his team having to make big plays late in games, he feels the experience from winning close games in the final minutes the last two games helped his team keep their composure down the stretch.

“We were down late in the Fredrica game and the St. Andrews game in the region playoffs,” said Cofield. “I definitely think there is a confidence level in those situations. It would be nice to extend a lead and not be in that situation, but I have confidence in the players to come through.”

Swanson was joined in double figures by fellow senior Miller Pope who finished with 15 points. After the game Cofield praised a few seniors for their play Wednesday.

“I thought Miller Pope played a really great game for us on both ends of the floor,” said Cofield. “I also think Kam Harrison made a few big plays for us tonight, including a key steal down the stretch.”

Next up for the Gators they will take on Southland Academy in the GISA quarterfinals Saturday at 3:00 in Milledgeville.