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BA splits with Westminster
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Bulloch Academy junior Taylor Collins scores a basket Friday. - photo by BRYAN BURKE/Special to the Herald

Junior Haley Burke pumped in 19 points, including three-of-four from the free-throw line with less than 50 seconds left, to lead the Lady Gators to a 47-42 region victory over Westminster School of Augusta Friday night.
    The Lady Wildcats (7-11, 3-5) cut the BA lead to 43-42 with 1:37 left when WSA forward Amber Davis hit one of two free throws. The solid Davis had been a thorn in side of BA forwards Taylor Collins and Anna Newton all game.
    She collected her fifth foul seconds later, sending Newton to the line. Newton canned one shot to give BA a 44-42 lead with 1:25 remaining.
    Down the stretch, the Lady Gators (16-6, 3-5) kept the ball away from the quick Lady Wildcats. Burke was fouled twice and hit three shots, the last one with 6.8 seconds left, to seal the much-needed GISA Region 4-AAA win.
    The Lady Wildcats looked physically impressive in the first quarter, as they took the fight to the home team. Anna Hearon hit a three-pointer midway through the quarter to cut the BA lead to 7-6. Hearon had 10 points on the night.
    Bulloch used a crushing press late in the quarter to create havoc. Burke went berserk with 10 to lead the Lady Gators on a 12-3 run for a 19-9 lead at the buzzer. Classmate Taylor Collins had seven of her 15 in the quarter.
    But WSA rallied back in the second behind the inside play of Davis, Haley Barinowski, Sam Trobaugh and Morgan Messenger. Trobaugh scored eight of her team-high 15 in the quarter, including a putback with five seconds left to cut the BA lead to 26-24 at halftime.
    In the third, Newton was whistled for her third foul early and played limited minutes. Meanwhile, Collins and Burke had their hands full with Trobaugh. Guards Rachel Gilbert, Lauren Dennard and Marianna Peebles worked on ball handlers Hearon and Nina McCallie.
    Trobaugh knotted the score at 30 with 3:26 left. But Burke got on old-fashioned three-point play at the 2:54 mark to recapture the lead. Gilbert went coast-to-coast on a steal for a basket with 12 seconds left to give BA a 37-33 lead.
    The action was fast and furious in the fourth. WSA kept the pressure on and knotted the game at 41-41 when Hearon hit a free-throw at the 3:35 mark. Newton, playing with four fouls, canned a 10-footer with 3:18 left to put Bulloch up 43-41 and set the stage for the dramatic win. She had seven points on the night.
    Bulloch travels to Lyons today to battle Robert Toombs Christian Academy at 3:30 p.m.

Westminster 65, Bulloch 52
      The Wildcats had four players in double figures and played tough on the boards to knock off Bulloch in a key Region 4-AAA battle.
    Evan Crutchfield scored 18 points, Austen Stokes had 17, Johannes Becker added 11 and Matthew Tebbs contributed 10 to pace the WSA victory. The Wildcats (10-8, 3-5) also hit 25-of-33 free throws.
    Westminster pulled out to a 7-0 to start the game as the Gators had major trouble finding the basket. Bulloch (14-7, 6-4) seemed to shake off their shooting funk and battled back to knot the score at 10-10. Junior Jaylen Evans went coast-to-coast for a layup with seconds left. He had 15 on the night.
    BA senior Zach Altany had a tough first quarter but seemed to get back on track in the second, scoring nine of his team-high 20. His old-fashioned three-point play with 4:25 left tied the score at 17-17.
    But Crutchfield and Becker ignited a fire in their teammates as the Wildcats took a 25-24 halftime lead.
    The Gators’ shooting woes continued in the third as Bulloch could only manage 10 points. Westminster’s big guys beat Bulloch down low as the Wildcats slowly began to pull out to a sizeable lead. Tebbs’ drive and layup with 1:02 left put WSA up 40-32.
    Westminster widened the gap in the fourth, pulling out to as many as 13 early. But even though the Gators had their scoring troubles, they still managed to cut the WSA lead to eight midway through the quarter.
    The Wildcats played in the bonus and double bonus for the majority of the final eight minutes and they took full advantage of their opportunities, hitting 21-of-26 free throws.
    The Gators try to get back on the winning track today, taking on Robert Toombs in Lyons at 5 p.m.

Bulloch 70, Westminster 36 (B-team boys)
    Ben Carico netted 14 points and played tough at the low block as he led the Gators to a 34-point win.
Matt Sheppard added 11 points and Forest Spence had eight.