Second-half surges lifted both Bulloch Academy basketball teams to region victories over Frederica Academy Tuesday night.
The Gator guys outscored the visitors 22-12 in the third quarter and held a 20-point lead during the fourth to whip the Knights 56-36. With the win, Bulloch goes undefeated through the first rotation of GISA Region 2-AAA play and captures its eighth consecutive victory.
Bulloch (12-7, 4-0) had a 15-point effort from senior guard Marvin Perkins and 12 points from senior point guard Will Rushing.
In the girls’ game, the Lady Gators outpointed the Lady Knights 17-8 in the fourth quarter to break open a one-point game and take a 58-48 victory.
Senior point guard Ashley Burke poured in 11 of her game-high 21 points in the eight-minute span to lead the Gator girls. Senior guard Page Spence added 14 and sophomore center Mikay Sands added 10. Bulloch improved t0 18-2 overall and 3-1 in region play.
In the finale, a power struggle raged between BA junior Hunter Perry and FA sophomore Jason Angelich.
The Knight center was taller and bigger than Perry, but the Gator center was stronger, quicker and more aggressive. Although Perry didn’t score a single point on the night, he made his presence known on defense and by rebounding skills on both ends of the court. He had numerous blocked shots, intimidated guards who drove the lane and generally ruled the middle. Angelich was held scoreless in the first quarter and had four at halftime. He finished the game with a team-high 14 points.
Senior Marvin Perkins popped out and played guard on offense but came back inside the paint on defense. He and Perry, along with fellow senior Jaylen Tolliver, formed a wall down low.
The first quarter was more of a defensive battle. The squads made each other work for what little offensive points there were. Perkins was able to hit two baskets and two foul shots for six and Rushing added two. On the other end, FA junior Malik Tatum had four of his 12.
The grueling land war continued in the second but Bulloch was able to outscore Frederica (10-5, 3-1) 10-8 to take an 18-10 halftime lead.
In the third, the Gators struck fast and hard, cranking up their fast-break offense.
Senior Smith Reeves drained a three-pointer at the 7:50 mark for a 21-10 lead and the dam broke. Bulloch went on an 8-1 run for a 29-11 lead with 4:20 left in the quarter. Rushing banged home two treys from the left wing and hard-playing senior Will Marsh added a bucket off the break. Marsh had eight on the night.
Junior Lanier Olliff gave the Gators a 20-point lead, 40-20, when he had a steal, drove coast-to-coast and laid the ball up with 45 seconds left.
Bulloch went up by as many as 23 early in fourth. Tolliver had all of his eight points in the quarter.
In the earlier varsity contest, the Pate Lomax-less Lady Gators knew they had a fight on their hands with the scrappy Lady Knights (7-7, 2-2).
And a battle it was the Burke, Spence and Sands faced off against senior post Hayden Squire, junior guard Brooke Bourne and sophomore guard Aubry Maulden.
Both teams played great defense. Quick hands batted passes away or intercepted them. Sands and Squire battled in the middle while ballhandlers Burke and Maulden raced up and down the floor at a frantic pace.
The scoring went tit-for-tat in the first quarter. Bulloch came away with a 15-13 lead when Sands had a putback with 1.7 seconds.
In the second, Bulloch added freshman center Alivia Collins in the mix and she responded with six points in the middle of the quarter. Her putback with 3:50 left in the half gave the Lady Gators a 25-20 lead. But Maulden rallied the Lady Knights and they quickly closed the gap.
Sarah Evans’ four-footer kissed the glass with 2.4 left for a 28-27 BA lead at intermission.
It was more of the same in the third as the hand-to-hand combat continued. Burke had a short jumper with 19 seconds left to give the Lady Gators a 41-41 lead at the horn. Spence added seven for Bulloch in the quarter while Brooke Bourne, who led Frederica with 15 points, had four.
But in the final eight minutes, Bulloch exploded.
The fast pace of the game seemingly wore down the Lady Knights. The Gator girls didn’t tire, though, and went on an 11-3 run early in the fourth quarter for a 52-43 lead. Burke led the charge with 11.
Bulloch stalled in the final four minutes to seal the victory.
In the first game of the night, the Lady Gator junior varsity nipped Frederica 25-24. Freshman MacKenzie Crooms hit the front end of a one-and-one free-throw situation with 9.2 seconds left in the game for the win. Both Collins and eighth grader Abby Newton scored six points each.