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Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!
Gators take on school from 'Down Under'
BA web
Bulloch Academy's Regan Ellis, right, battles Camden Valley's Madison Hale for a loose ball Monday. The Gators played host to a far away and unique road game as the Camden Valley squads travelled all the way from New South Wales, Australia to try their hand against some area prep squads. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff



    Bulloch Academy claimed its first-ever international basketball victories Monday night with a sweep of the Camden Valley Wildfire from Camden in New South Wales, Australia.
In the boys’ game, a foursome of Gators hit double figures as Bulloch bounced the Wildfire 74-50. Hunter Perry had a game-high 15, Brian Harrison added 11 and both Trevor Mason and Jarius Mikell chipped in 10 each.
In the girls’ the Lady Gators also had four double figures as they pummeled the Lady Wildfire 62-41. Amber Robins netted a game-high 20 while Sarah Evans, Mikay Sands and Lacy Robins zipped the nets for 13 each.
Before each game, the national anthems from both countries were played and after a prayer, the players and coaches exchanged small gifts.
Each Camden player received a specifically-designed shoe tote that commemorated the meeting of the teams while the Camden coaches were presented with a basketball signed by all of the Gator and Lady Gator players. The Lady Wildfire also received specially-made metallic angels from assistant coach Beth Sands.
Each Bulloch Academy player received a boomerang. The Wildfire players, who are on an American tour, will visit several different cities and play different teams while on school holiday, even presented the officials with the symbols of their native country.
But, after the pleasantries were out of the way, it was down to business and business was good for the Gators.
In the opener, the BA girls (10-3) outscored the visitors 26-12 in the opening quarter and just rolled on from there.
Evans, Lacy Robins and Sands was on fire in the opening stanza. Both Evans and Robins netted eight points. Sands added four but picked up two quick fouls and retired to the bench midway through the quarter.
The uptempo game seemed to catch the Aussies off guard. While they had good ball handling skills, they were not as big or as quick as the Lady Gators.
A fast-paced second quarter put Bulloch up 42-23 at the half.
An Evans free throw at the 7:47 mark gave the BA girls a 43-23 lead in the third. Bulloch substituted freely to run the score up to 58-30 by the buzzer.
In the fourth, Amber Robins took advantage of the tired visitors to score 10 points. A third country was represented in the quarter when BA’s German foreign exchange student Julia Biester pumped in a basket.
Kasee McIIvenny led Camden Valley with 14 points while Madeline Di Mauro added 10.
In the finale, the Wildfire roared across the Gator gym with speed and impressive ball-handling skills. Miguel Campos had five points in the opening period while Jayden Ribarovski and Julian Dizon added three each.
Mikell countered with his speed and Mason used his muscle to keep the Gators in the game. Mason pushed in six while Mikell added five. Mason’s resounding putback with 43.2 left in the quarter gave Bulloch an 18-16 lead.
While Bulloch was just getting warmed up in the second quarter, the Aussies seemed to fade as they couldn’t handle BA’s power and quickness.
Mason’s muscle took its toll in the middle and the BA boys started to slowly pull away. Harrison and Perry also pounded inside while Mikell, Brett Thomas and Lanier Olliff pushed the ball down the floor. Bulloch (8-3) held the Australians to just five points while scoring 18 for a 36-21 lead.
The Gators continued to wear down the visitors in the second half as Tyler Budgett made his presence known, scoring nine points in a fast-paced third quarter. BA held a 52-32 advantage in the third.
Ribarovski led Camden Valley with 12 points, Campos had 11 and Dizon added nine.
Bulloch travels to Perry today to battle Westfield.
In afternoon games, Camden Valley nipped Bulloch 36-32 in junior varsity action. Candler Boyett led BA with eight points while Don Aaron added seven and Chad Lanier had six. Alexander Jovanovic led CV with nine and Matthew Williams added seven.
In middle-school action, Camden Valley beat Bulloch 42-31.