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Lady Gators lead local teams in action Friday night
Prep Basketball
Bulloch Academy's Avery Sheppard, center, splits Westminster defenders for a fourth quarter bucket on Friday, Dec. 17. at Gator Alley.

Holiday tournaments and the bulk of region schedules are coming up fast, but area basketball teams are already firing on all cylinders.


Friday night saw both Portal, Bulloch Academy and the Southeast Bulloch girls in action, with both Statesboro squads and the SEB boys slated to take the floor on Saturday.


Bulloch Academy

The only Bulloch County team to pull down a victory on Friday was the BA girls squad. The Lady Gators did so in style, cruising to a 59-16 win over Westminster.


Bulloch was able to spread the love around throughout the night as no player scored more than 10 points, with Sophie Strickland, Kacie Ricketts and Ashantay Noble all just barely reaching double-digits.


Eight different Gators registered points, with 11 seeing game action as Bulloch was able to play its reserves for much of the second half.


Things weren't nearly as rosy for the Bulloch boys as Westminster turned the tables and rolled to a 60-28 victory to notch a split on the night.


Benji Lynch led all scorers with 18 for Westminster. He set the tone early with 10 points scored in the first half and connected three times from beyond the arc. 

Lynch found plenty of support as Brady Poss netted 13 points and Carter Huss added another 12.


Redding Calhoun topped the Bulloch offensive effort with 10 points. 


Westminster was able to throw a wet blanket on the Gator offense for much of the night, with only Ian Leadbetter and Cole Derisso  — aside from Calhoun — able to connect on more than one field goal. 


The Lady Gators imroved to 7-0 on the season while the boys slipped to 0-5. The BA girls will take on Swainsboro in a tournament beginning Monday while the boys can settle in for a prolonged Christmas break before travelling to Macon to face Tattnall Square Academy in a tournament set to begin Dec. 28.


Portal

A rough week for both the Portal boys and girls squads took a couple more hits on Friday in Twin City as both dropped contests to Emanuel County Institute in equally wrenching fashion.


In the early game, the Portal girls dropped their second straight one-possession game as ECI outlasted the Lady Panthers by a count of 37-35.

 

With the loss, the ladies drop to 1-5 on the season.


In the boys game, Portal led by 10 at halftime and held a 46-40 lead after three quarters of action, but ECI rallied hard and the Portal offense wasn't able to keep pace. The Bulldogs connected on a shot at the buzzer to steal away a 56-53 victory and send Portal to its first loss of the season following a 5-0 start.


Letting a late lead slip away is rough enough, but the Panthers had only themselves to blame from before the game even tipped off. Seven Portal players — many of them key contributors — were suspended from Friday's game following an incident earlier in the week against Treutlen.


It remains unclear how many more games each of the players might remain out of action.


The Portal boys return to action Dec. 28 in Sandersville as they take on Washington County in a holiday tournament. The Lady Panthers won't hit the court again until 2022 when region play resumes.


Statesboro

The only reason the the Blue Devils boys and girls didn't continue their all-out assault on scoreboards Friday night is that they enjoyed a night off.


Both made plenty of noise in the midweek with a sweep of South Effingham.


The boys were all gas and no brakes on the way to a 101-33 destruction of the Mustangs. Leslie Black led the way with 20 points while Albert Mikell scored 15, Tim Taylor added 14, Jaquez Green put up 12 and Willie Ballard added 11 in the runaway win.


In girls action, the Lady Devils were met with much stiffer competition, but still walked away with a 50-40 victory. With their respective wins, the boys improved to 11-0 while the girls ticked up to 8-0.


Both will be in action beginning at 6 p.m. tonight as they host Northside-Warner Robins in a doubleheader.