Bulloch Academy head coach Stacy Sikes said prior to Monday’s matchup with Robert Toombs he thought this would be their biggest test of the young season. He was right, at least for a half, as the Gators overcame a 25-16 halftime deficit, to knock off the Crusaders 61-52.
The Crusaders — coached by former Bulloch Academy assistant Adam Callaway — took an 11-8 lead in the first quarter and simply held the ball for over two minutes trying to force the Gators out of their 2-3 zone.
Robert Toombs increased their lead in the second as Torrey Patterson actually outscored the Gators all by himself 10-8, and the Crusaders took a 25-16 lead.
“We got in a little foul trouble in the first half,” said Sikes, “They slowed it down and took us out of our game. I told them at halftime we need to attack and told Dra Harrison he needed to take over.”
And that’s just what Harrison did, scoring 20 points in the second half alone, part of his game high 27. Pierles Brown put his game in overdrive as well driving to the basket and scoring 15 of his 19 points in the second half.
The Gators trailed 37-36 after three quarters of play. A jump shot by Harrison early in the fourth gave the Gators a 39-37 lead, and they would never trail again, outscoring Robert Toombs 25-15 in the fourth.
“I know Adam (Callaway) real well and I was a little shocked because he loves to run the ball up and down the floor and I expected a track meet,” said Sikes, “He took us out of our rhythm, which was smart, but we really turned it up in the second half. They missed some shots and we were running on the break and Dra and Pierles both came through nicely.”
The Gators improve to 8-1 on the season. Next up they will travel to Westminster January 3.
Lady Gators fall to RTCA
The Bulloch Academy lady Gators climbed out of an early home to take the lead in the second half, but saw Robert Toombs go on a late run and the Gators would end up falling 53-48.
“I’m really proud of how we battled,” said coach Hal Wilson, “We came back and actually took the lead against a very fine team, I’m so proud of our girls.”
The Gators struggled out of the gate and found themselves trailing 16-8 after the first quarter of play. A 15-12 run in the second quarter was sparked by Madeline Cowart who scored 7 of her 10 points including a three pointer at the buzzer.
In the third quarter the Gators came out hot and cut the deficit to two on an Abby Newton three pointer, part of her team high 13 points.
The Gators took their first lead of the game at 39-38 with 7:36 left in the game on a three pointer by Kasie Ricketts. They would extend the lead to 45-40 with 4:35 to go in the game, and continue to lead 48-45 with 1:35 to go in the game.
A three pointer by Michaella Blackshear (23 points) tied the game at 48-48. A jumper by Hannah Coursey with 1:03 left made it 50-48 and they would go on to win by five.
“A lot of people are thinking Robert Toombs are a team that could win the state,” said Wilson, “To take them to the wire and have a chance to win is a move in the right direction for this team despite losing.”
Up next the lady Gators hit the road to play in a Holiday tournament in the Carolina Invitational in Charleston South Carolina. The Gators open with Woodruff, South Carolina at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 27.