Jaylen Tolliver scored a game-high 21 points to lead Bulloch Academy to a 66-55 victory over Hilton Head Christian Academy Saturday afternoon.
The victory was the ninth straight for the Gators (13-7) but the BA boys had to fight off a strong second-half surge from the Eagles for the win.
Bulloch outhustled HHCA in the opening quarter behind Tolliver’s nine points, a solid defense and a tough 2-1-2 half-court trap.
In the second quarter, the Gators went on a 6-0 run for a 26-5 lead on junior Hunter Perry’s three-point play at the 5:51 mark. Perry had 12 points in the game.
Bulloch continued its dominance as Will Rushing popped a 3-pointer with 4:50 left in the half to put the Gators up 31-10.
But the Eagles (8-10) went on a 15-7 run to end the quarter and trimmed the BA lead to 38-25, at the half.
In the third, both squads came out in a deep freeze as neither team could buy a basket. The Eagles came out of their funk first then the Gators thawed.
The squads battled back and forth. Tolliver was tough down low while Perry and HHCA big man Mike Dillon battled all over the court. The Eagles cut the BA lead to 10, 47-37, when speedy guard Jamareon Clark drove in for a layup with under 30 seconds left. Clark led the Eagles with 20 points and Dillon had 12.
Clark started off the fourth with a three-point play to pull the Eagles closer, 49-42, with 6:57 left in the game.
Bulloch reversed course as Tolliver, Perry and Will Marsh took control. Marsh had eight of his 14 points in the quarter, including a three-point play with 3:05 to make it 60-49.
Lady Gators fall
The Lady Eagles outscored the Gator girls 19-8 in the third quarter to turn a close game into a blowout and hand Bulloch Academy its second loss in three games.
Despite having four players in double figures, the Gator girls had no answer for HHCA shooter Maccee Tamminen and hard-charging Ziarra Doe. Tamminen had a game-high 24 points while Doe had 12. BA point guard Ashley Burke led Bulloch with 17 while Page Spence, Mikay Sands and Alivia Collins all had 10 each.
Bulloch (18-3) took a 13-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and Sands had a putback with 35 seconds left to give the Lady Gators a 29-28 lead at intermission.
In the third, both squads came out cold offensively. But the Lady Eagles thawed first as Tamminen drove the lane for a basket and a 39-35 lead late. HHCA began to slowly pull away and took a 47-37 advantage late in the quarter.
Doe took over in the fourth, helping her squad pull out to a 13-point lead.
All BA squads are back in action Tuesday as the Gators take on arch-rival Pinewood Christian Academy in important GISA Region 2-AAA contests.