Over the course of a long basketball season, the goal is always to peak at the right time.
Thanks to the efforts of Jaylen Tolliver, that seems to be the course that the Gators of Bulloch Academy have set.
Facing a feisty Augusta Prep team that had a hot hand from long range, the Gators were able to claw back from a double-digit second half deficit. Late in the third quarter, Tolliver — who led Bulloch with 11 points — connected on a three-point play that cut the Cavaliers’ lead in half and provided the momentum that his teammates used to power to a win in the final period of play.
“Coach (Chandler Dennard) told us before the game that we were going to have to play tough and really pound the ball inside,” Tolliver said. “I was just doing my best to follow the game plan. It was a game that we really wanted to win.”
The Gators’ 49-47 win was the 300th of Dennard’s career and also put Bulloch over the .500 mark at 8-7 on the season.
“I think we’re coming together,” Tolliver said. “We started playing better during our holiday tournament. We have a little more confidence. That’s what we need if we want to achieve our goals.”
Every season, there are plenty of athletes getting back into the action after rehabbing from a major injury.
For Statesboro’s Regan Thomas, this soccer season will be her first since battling back from a pair of major knee injuries.
In 2012, Thomas burst onto the scene as a dangerous scoring threat in her freshman season. Her sophomore campaign held plenty of promise, but was cut short after she tore her ACL. Thomas fought through the recovery process, only to have a bone spur re-injure the same ligament and cost her a second consecutive season.
“The first injury was bad just because you never like being hurt,” Thomas said. “The second time, it was such a shock. It was really hard, having to sit on the sidelines and only be able to watch when we were in region and state playoff games.”
Thomas went through another round of rehab and was able to play the final portion of her club season this past fall.
Now, it’s back to the grind for the Blue Devils.
“I’m so excited to be able to play out my senior season,” Thomas said. “We have a lot of good girls and we’re hoping for a big year. I’m really looking forward to being a part of it.”