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BA's boys, girls cruise past Edmund Burke

    Eleven players scored and all 16 played stop-ball defense as Bulloch Academy rolled over Edmund Burke Academy, 69-31, in non-region boys basketball action Friday night.
    Bulloch (16-3) held the overmatched Spartans to five points in the second quarter and six in the fourth quarter as BA head coach Chandler Dennard shuffled all of the members of his squad in and out of the game.
    “I was really proud of the way everyone, when they got in, played good defense,” Dennard said. “Everyone got some good quality minutes.”
    In the opening quarter, the Gators starters took a little time to get their motors revved up in the hot and humid gymnasium. But they wound up cruising to a 14-3 lead when Forrest Spence, who scored 10 on the night,  pushed in a layup with 2:37 left. Dennard began to mix and match his players and the Spartans took advantage. Ben Murray buried two late 3-pointers, one at the buzzer, to cut the Gators' lead to 16-11.
    Murray, who had a game-high 16, cut the lead to 16-13 with a drive and a short jumper at the 7:05 mark. David Murray hit a free throw with 6:40 left to trim the BA lead to a bucket, 16-14.
    Bulloch outscored the Spartans, 19-2, in the remainder of the quarter for a 35-16 halftime lead. The Spartans were no match for the Gators. BA's big men, John Cornett and Themba Twala, dominated the middle as Spence, Clayton Rogers and Jaylen Evans worked hard for steals and loose balls. BA's starters built a comfortable lead and Dennard’s bench held it.
    “With a big lead, it’s sometimes easy to slack off, cut the fool and not play hard,” he said. “But our guys played hard for a full 32 minutes.”
    In the third, Spence nailed an NBA 3-pointer from corner for a 38-18 lead with 6:34 to go. Minutes later, Dennard’s merry-go-round began as 11 new players saw action. At the buzzer, Bulloch held a 50-25 advantage. Twala had a bucket in each quarter for a team-high 12 points.
    No BA starter touched the court in the fourth as reserves Smith Reeves, Bill and Matt Sheppard, Lee Waters, Will Marsh, Chandler Maxwell and Bill Nguyen got most of the playing time.
    “We’ve got a lot of good young players, from the sixth grade up, in our basketball program,” Dennard said. “It was good to get our younger guys some quality minutes. I feel like we have the makings of becoming very competitive in Class AAA for the next five or six years.”
    Bulloch travels to Dublin today to play Region 4-AAA foe Trinity Christian School.

    Lady Gators 61, Lady Spartans 38
      Haley Burke scored 10 of her 15 points in the third quarter to break a 20-20 tie and lead the Lady Gators to a lopsided victory.
    The senior-laden Lady Spartans (7-8) gave Bulloch all it could handle in the opening quarter. Jennifer McDaniel took BA’s Taylor Collins to almost a draw. EBA broke the Bulloch trap with speed, quickness and good passing.
    Bulloch (18-3) took a 12-6 lead but the Waynesboro squad battled hard down the stretch. Sammie Jo Evans pounded a three-pointer to leave the score 17-15 at the buzzer.
    Evans helped give the visitors a 20-18 lead early in the second quarter as the EBA players and crowd sensed an upset.
    But Burke shattered any thoughts of that.
    The senior hit a bucket at the 5:37 mark to knot the score at 20-all and then led the Lady Gators on a rampage. Bulloch proceeded to go on a 15-3 run for a 35-23 lead at intermission.
    “She hit some big shots to turn the momentum,” BA head coach Paul Webb said.
    “It didn’t surprise us because she has been doing that kind of thing for the past two years. We even set up some plays with the idea of her scoring. She came through.”
    Collins, who had nine of her 11 in the first half, and Newton also got into the act as the Lady Gator run let all of the air out of the Lady Spartans’ balloon.
    “I thought it was important that we went on that run right before half because it cooled any idea that they had about an upset,” Webb said. “In locker room, we talked about what we needed to do in the second half. The girls came out and executed the plan. They played much better defensively.”
    Newton, who had trouble finding the basket in the 16 minutes, got her touch back in the third, scoring eight of the 15 points. BA held EBA to a single bucket, taking a 44-25 lead after the eight minutes
    “Anna’s shots just weren’t falling in the first half,” Webb said. “For her to score in double figures and not have that good of a game really shows what kind of player she is.”
    Webb gave his starters the rest of the night off as his reserves finished the game.
    Ashlee Lanier scored five points in the quarter to lead the scoring.
    BA B-Team 47, Edmund Burke 24
    Brooke Gilbert scored 10 points, Pate Lomax added nine and Danielle Atkinson had eight as the Bulloch B-team girls beat EBA 47-24.
    The Lady Gators (7-1) went on a 16-7 tear in the third quarter to pull away.