Three seniors scored in double figures to lift the Bulloch Academy boys to their eighth straight win Friday night, outlasting GISA Region 2-AAA foe Trinity Christian School of Dublin 56-42.
Jaylen Tolliver led the way with 16 points while Marvin Perkins added 15 and Will Rushing chipped in 10. The Gators (11-7 overall and 3-0 in region play) never trailed in the contest but they never fully closed the door on the scrappy Crusaders until late in the fourth quarter.
Bulloch held a 26-20 halftime lead and outscored the visitors 15-11 in the third for a 10-point lead heading into the final eight minutes.
The play in the quarter was too fast and out of control on both sides of the ball. Missed shots and loose balls were the norm. But Bulloch righted the ship late. Tolliver, Perkins and fellow senior Will Marsh got control of the paint. BA ran a quick and productive fast break to pull away. Perkins converted a three-point play with 2:07 left for a 39-31 lead and then nailed a six-footer with 1:46 remaining for the 41-31 lead.
Rushing drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the 6:49 mark of the fourth to give the Gators an 11-point lead, 46-35. Bulloch held the double-digit advantage and increased it to 14 by the final buzzer.
A tight defensive battle began in the opening quarter with good man and zone defenses from both squads. Bulloch took a 12-6 lead after the first eight minutes.
In the second, Trinity senior Wyatt Payne brought it, scoring 10 of his game-high 21. But the majority of the quarter was a fast-and-furious defensive battle.TCS crept back into the game and cut the score to 26-20 at intermission.
Trinity 59, Bulloch 53 (Girls)
The Lady Crusaders took a nine-point lead in the opening quarter and never looked back as they upset the Lady Gators 59-53.
Senior center Sydney Bozeman scored 20 points, sophomore sharpshooter Randie Traxler added 15 and senior Abby Belote hit 12 to lead Trinity.
BA sophomore center Mikay Sands netted a career-high 24 while senior point guard Ashley Burke added 20 in the loss, the first in nine games and also the first without injured forward Pate Lomax. The senior is out indefinitely with a broken bone in her left hand.
Big girls Bozeman and Sands went after each other in the opening quarter.
The more muscular Sands had her way early, scoring six quick points in the opening minutes as Bulloch (17-2, 2-1) took an 8-0 lead.
But the taller and more experienced Bozeman was able to block a few shots and fill the lane with her wingspan. Both players opted for the short jumpers rather than the down-low layups. Sands hit 12 points while Bozeman had 11.
But it was the other cast of characters that helped the Lady Crusaders (12-5, 2-0) take a 25-16 lead at the first horn. Belote had nine points, including a rare four-point play at the 3:35 mark which gave TCS its first lead, 13-10. By contrast, BA’s Burke had a single bucket in the opening quarter.
Trinity went on a 12-6 run for a 25-16 lead at the buzzer, and took a 36-27 lead at intermission.
In the third, Burke heated up and led a charge to cut the lead to three, 36-33, by the 6:10 mark. She stole an inbounds pass and dribbled coast-to-coast for a layup. Then she had a drive and hit an off-balance shot.
Both squads battled hard and Kingery had a putback with 4:45 left for a 38-37 score.
Bulloch Academy continues region play next week, hosting ever-tough Frederica Academy on Tuesday.