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BA wins battle of the champs
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    It was champion against champion in the final game on the second day of the ninth annual Lady Gator Classic pre-season basketball tournament Wednesday.
    Bulloch Academy, the reigning GISA Class AAA state champion, pounded four-time defending Class A state champion Crisp Academy 57-36 behind a 20-point performance from senior point guard Ashley Burke and an 18-point showing from senior forward Pate Lomax.
    The duo, along with tough defensive efforts from sophomore forward Mikay Sands, senior guard Page Spence and junior forward Sarah Evans, propelled the Lady Gators to a 20-point lead late in the second quarter.
    In other action, Augusta Prep’s Jamie Holodak netted 15 points to lead the Lady Cavaliers over Frederica Academy 57-47. Hilton Head Christian whipped Edmund Burke Academy 62-30.
    The tournament ends today after its final three games. At 3:30 p.m., Crisp Academy takes on Trinity Christian of Dublin. Westminster of Augusta battles Frederica Academy at 5 p.m. Bulloch Academy meets Augusta Prep in the late game at 6:30 p.m.
    In Wednesday’s finale, the Lady Gators (3-0) took the fight to the rebuilding Lady Wildcats (0-2) as Lomax and Sands battled Crisp’s Claire and Mary Margaret McGarr. The McGarr sisters jammed the inside to try and stop Lomax. But Burke’s quickness and speed helped Bulloch achieve an 18-6 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
    Bulloch outscored the Lady Wildcats 12-4 early in the second quarter. Lomax put back up an offensive rebound at the 3:37 mark for the 30-10 lead. BA head coach Paul Webb ran players in and out of the game as Crisp cut the lead to 34-17 by intermission.
    The Lady Wildcats stormed out of the locker room in the third, mounting an aggressive comeback which cut the lead to 36-26 midway through the quarter. Crisp’s attacks seemed to surprise the Lady Gators as the tide began to go the way of the visitors from Cordele. Hard-charging Parker Krause and Sydney Well led the attack. Krause had 11 on the night while Wells added nine.
    But the Lady Gators stepped in up a notch, especially on defense. Burke ran the floor well as the BA fastbreak exploited the low block with Lomax, Sands and freshman Alivia Collins. Bulloch outscored Crisp 11-2 in the final minutes for a 47-28 advantage at the buzzer.
     In the fourth, BA went on a 8-0 run to take a 55-28 lead before Webb substituted freely.
    The opener was a seesaw battle.
    Augusta Prep took a 22-15 halftime lead but Frederica charged back to take a 39-37 advantage after three. The Lady Cavs were able to overcome the SSI girls in the fourth. FA’s Morgan Sullivan led all scorers with 20 points and Hayden Squire added 14. For APS, Harper Simms had 12 and Julia Hatcher contributed 10.
    The Lady Eagles of Hilton Head Christian took a 15-5 lead at the end of the opening quarter of the second game and never looked back. Edmund Burke cut the lead to 22-18 at intermission but HHC was just too strong, taking a 44-25 lead by the end of the third quarter. Andy Anderson led Hilton Head with 18 points and Zi Doe had 17.
    For EBA, Amber Chambers led with 12 and Marley Knight had seven.