Curtis Baptist senior forward Jawan Rouse pushed in a short jumper at the buzzer to give the Crusaders a 52-51 victory over Bulloch Academy Tuesday night.
With Bulloch holding a 51-50 lead, Alphonzo Meyers was fouled and went to the line with 3.1 seconds left in the game for a one-and-one situation. The CB junior missed the first shot and players from both squads scrambled for the ball. Curtis got the possession on the jump-ball possession and called time out with 1.5 left to go over an inbounds play.
The visitors from Augusta were given the ball out-of-bounds under the basket. Rouse, the biggest man on the floor, got the lob in the lane and bounced it once while backing toward the goal. He then spun around and shot, floating the ball toward the hoop. The ball bounced twice on the rim and fell through the net as the horn sounded. The Curtis students who had played in earlier games rushed the floor while the rowdy BA student section was stunned.
In the varsity opener, BA junior Pate Lomax scored a season-high 19 to keep the Lady Gators unbeaten with a 60-38 drubbing Curtis Baptist.
In the finale, both the Crusaders and the Gators (1-2) had ample chances to put the game away in the final quarter. In the frantic fourth, the Gators were 1-of-5 from the line while CB was 0-of-3. Both squads had missed one-and-one opportunities with under 12 seconds left in the game.
Bulloch held the lead almost the entire time in the intense contest but the Crusaders, who are the defending GISA Class A state champions, kept rallying back by utilizing their speed, quickness and aggressive style of play.
The Gators took a hard-fought 29-24 halftime lead. Sophomore Hunter Perry came through with tough play in the middle and netted six of his 11 points while junior Smith Reeves canned 4-of-8 free throws. Reeves had 15 points on the night.
Bulloch went up by 10, 34-24, in the third when senior Ja’Darius Smith drilled one of his five threes on the night with 6:20 left. He had a game-high 23. The Gators played their fast-paced style and seemed able to hold their focus as bodies banged into each other at every turn.
But Curtis senior Justin Wilson turned up the heat. He netted 12 points, six in the final two minutes, to give the visitors a 44-42 lead by the buzzer. Wilson led the Crusaders with 16 points. Rouse had 15 while senior Micah Ryals added 10.
In the girls’ game, the Lady Gators (8-0) had the size advantage from the opening tip as Lomax and fellow forward Chelsea Oglesby dominated the middle. Lomax put in six in the opening eight minutes while both Oglesby and junior point guard Ashley Burke added four each. Bulloch took an 18-7 lead at the horn.
Bulloch played good defense in the second as CB turnovers turned into BA points. Oglesby was double teamed in the lane and struggled with the pressure. But Lomax hit the short jumper and netted eight as BA took a 39-13 lead.
In the third, Lomax and Oglesby were solid and were joined in the lane by scrappy senior Brooke Gilbert. Both Oglesby and Gilbert had 10 points each on the night. Burke chipped in 11.
Bulloch travels to Lyons Friday and Saturday to participate in the Robert Toombs Christian Academy Coaches vs. Cancer Invitational.