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BA avenges loss to Mt. de Sales
BA WB
Bulloch Academy forward Bill Sheppard gets fouled on this way to the basket during the first quarter against Macon's Mt. De Sales on Friday. - photo by BRYAN BURKE/Special to the Herald

    Last Friday night, Mount de Sales drubbed the Bulloch Academy boys by 32 points in the Tattnall Square Academy Christmas tournament in Macon.
    This Friday night, the squads met again.
Same teams, same score, right?
    Wrong.
    Gator senior Bill Sheppard put on a show, scoring 18 points to lead the Gators to a 43-35 revenge win over Cavaliers.
    In the earlier game, the Lady Gators rolled past the Lady Cavaliers 42-20 behind double-digit efforts from seniors Danielle Atkinson and Chelsea Oglesby. Atkinson netted 12 points, including three treys, while Oglesby added 11.
    “The guys were embarrassed by last Friday night,” BA head coach Chandler Dennard said of the 57-25 loss on Dec. 27. “We had 32 turnovers and Mount de Sales must have turned every one into points. We were down 16 and it snowballed on us. To get beat that badly by a team you had beaten last year in the first round of the state tournament was pretty embarrassing. We really took one on the chin.”
    The difference?
     “We didn’t turn it over 32 times,” said Dennard. “Plus the guys were simply playing for pride. They knew that they are a better team than that. Tonight, it showed.”
    Bulloch (5-6) came out slow in the opening quarter but hung tight with the Cavs. Junior Will Marsh battled hard to put in a layup with seconds left to trim the MDS lead to 14-10. Sheppard had eight points in the quarter and Marsh, who had nine on the night, added four.
    BA’s Smith Reeves hit the first bucket of the second and was instrumental in leading the charge to take the lead. Sophomore Hunter Perry put back up a rebound with 3:12 left to knot the score at 19. Reeves’ jumper at the 2:33 mark gave BA its first lead of the night, 21-19. BA took a 24-19 lead into the locker room. Reeves scored 11 on the night.
    “Both Bill and Smith have been playing well over the last couple of weeks,” said Dennard. “It’s tough when you lose your two leading scorers to graduation and the two guys who were role players last year (Sheppard and Smith) are now expected to lead the offense. They have had some struggles early but are coming along.”
    In the third, the Gators became more patient and deliberate. It paid off as they slowly built a bigger lead. Bulloch’s defense and rebounding on both ends of the floor improved and contributed. A Reeves running jumper here, a Marsh put back there and BA was up with nine, 31-22. Sheppard drilled a three-pointer at the 1:01 mark for a 12-point lead, 34-22.
    The Gators held their double-digit advantage deep into the fourth. But, with under two minutes left, the wheels almost came off when the Cavs cut the lead to six, 39-33, and began their run.
    Bulloch was able to play good defense, fight for loose balls, and get good rebounding from Marsh, Perry and Sheppard to hold on for the win.
    The Gator guys take on Dominion Christian today at noon.
    In the earlier game, the Lady Gators (14-1) ran roughshod over the Lady Cavs, outscoring them 16-2 in the opening quarter and 16-4 in the second for a 32-6 lead at intermission.
    Oglesby led on both ends floor. She, classmate Mary Kate Thomas and junior Pate Lomax kept the Lady Cavs out of the paint.
At halftime of the boys’ game, the school honored its seven Final Four teams. Players and coaches from five girls’ teams (1977-78, 78-79, 2008-09, 09-10, 12-13) and the two boys’ teams (1982-83, 2012-13) came out to half court and were given a standing ovation.