Bulloch Academy Coach Chance Cofield knows first hand how intense the rivalry is between Bulloch Academy and Pinewood. A 2006 Pinewood graduate Cofield won back to back state titles with the Patriots and had play before loud crowds at Bulloch Academy all four years.
Friday Cofield was wearing Gator green, and had the Bulloch Academy raucous crowd on his side for a change. The Gators were able to help Cofield to a season sweep of his alma mater, as they knocked off Pinewood 74-62.
“Having been a player I knew we’d have this kind of environment,” Cofield said. “I wish we could have this kind of turnout every home game. It really pumps are kids up, and I think it helped us for sure to stay focused tonight.’
Lost in a fairly convincing Gator win was a shootout between the Gators Pierless Brown, and the Patriots Ethan Duckworth. This battle was a little closer, but was also won by the Gators as Brown finished with 32 points, while Duckworth ended the night with 31.
Three pointers helped the Patriots hang around most of the night. Pinewood cut the lead to 6 in the second half on the strength of 11 three pointers, but every time the Patriots made a run, the Gators had the answer, and maintained a double digit lead for most of the second half.
“They made some runs, and then we made some runs,” Cofield said. “Pierless led us once again, but I think Ty Mingle played huge for us tonight on both ends of the floor.”
The Patriots actually took a 16-15 lead in the second quarter on a Duckworth three pointer, and extended the lead to 21-17. The Gators then went on a 18-0 run capped by back to back Ty Mingle baskets after steals on the defensive end, and Bulloch Academy led 35-21 at the half.
“This was a big region win for us and we really needed it,” Cofield said. “We need to close our region schedule strong as things are starting to wrap up.”
Brown led the Gators with 32, Mingle added 16, and Don Aaron finished with 13 points. Duckworth led the Patriots with 31.
The Gators improve to 17-3 overall and 5-1 in region play. Up next Bulloch Academy travels to Westfield Saturday.
Lady Patriots 40, Lady Gators 32
The losing streak continues for the Bulloch Academy Gators who dropped their fourth straight, and fifth of their last sixth, falling to Pinewood at home 40-32.
The Patriots man to man defense once again gave the Gators fits, as they held Bulloch Academy leading scorer Abby Newton to just six points.
“Pinewood played tough defense on us once again,” said Bulloch Academy coach Beth Burke. “We just need to get everyone to commit to playing to the best of their abilities. I think we can be a good team if they are able to do that.”
Pinewood also held a decisive advantage over the Gators on the glass, as they controlled the paint getting most of their points on putbacks and layups.
“We have really worked a lot on boxing out and rebounding,” Burke said. “Things go well in practice, and then we just can’t seem to carry it over to the game.”
The Gators started the game 0-11 from the field and had 6 turnovers, but still took a brief 5-4 lead on a three pointer by Kacie Ricketts with just over a minute to go in the first quarter. The Patriots were able to close the half with a pair of baskets to grab an 8-5 lead.
The Patriots extended their lead to 17-9 on a three pointer by Jordan Jernigan, and would go on to lead 19-10 at the half.
The Patriots continued to find success in the paint in the third quarter, led by a couple of baskets by Abi Oates as they took a 31-24 lead.
In the fourth the Gators cut the Patriot to lead to five on two different occasions. A three point play by Regan Ellis got the Gators to within 24-19, and a three point shot by Abby Newton made ot 33-28. The Patriots came right back after the Newton bucket to get a three point play by Oates, and they’d go on to win by eight
“Right now for some reason we are just not playing together,” Burke said. “None of the five on the court are playing to their capability. We really need to get out of this slump before the region tournament.”
Ricketts led the Gators with 11 points, while Oates led Pinewood with 16 points.
Bulloch Academy falls to 11-8 overall and 2-4 in region play. Up next they travel to Westfield Saturday, and then return home for Hilton Head Christian Tuesday.