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Gators get past Brookwood
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Bulloch Academy defenders Chad Lanier, left, Pierles Brown, right, and Don Aaron, center left, surround Brookwood's Danny Atkinson and cause a turnover in the third quarter of Wednesday's first round game in the GISA state playoffs.

    Bulloch Academy was able to jump to an early lead and never really looked back as it defeated Brookwood 66-60  in the opening round of the GISA Class AAA playoffs Wednesday.

    The Gators managed to penetrate the Warrior zone defense for easy baskets throughout the contest. Brookwood hit 11 3-pointers, which allowed them to stay within striking distance, but in the end the Gators hit enough free throws to maintain a comfortable lead and advance to the elite eight round of state.

    “We knew they had a couple shooters, and I wish we would have done a better job containing them,” said Bulloch Academy coach Stacy Sikes. “In the state tournament your goal is to survive and advance, and we did.”

    The Gators got out to a 7-0 lead. Brookwood eventually tied the game at 11-11, but the Gators then went on a 13-0 run capped by a Don Aaron layup. Brookwood answered right back wih an 11-0 run themselves before the Gators got back-to-back baskets by Pierles Brown and Dra Harrison to take a 29-22 halftime lead.

    Late in the third quarter, an Aaron 3 extended the lead to 42-29, and Bulloch Academy held a 42-32 advantage at the end of the third.

    In the fourth, the Warriors cut the lead to six on a couple of occasions, but the Gators hit enough free throws to keep at least a two possession advantage throughout the final quarter, and ended up winning by six points on their home court.

    “It was great being able to be at home,” Sikes said. “Playing this group on a neutral site would have been tough. They had to ride on a bus for over four hours. We had a good loud crowd and a comfortable day. Being home may have been the difference in a six point game like this.”

    Next up, the Gators go up against the team that played on their court prior to their game with Brookwood. Heritage High School beat Westfield 65-24 in a game they led 49-3 at the half.

    “That’s a great team we are going to be playing next week,” Sikes said. “We knew if we got past this game what was in front of us. The good thing is you don’t have to beat them three times, or two times, you only have to beat them once. I hope we can come up with a gameplan and things go our way and we can do it.”

    Bulloch Academy and Heritage are scheduled to play Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at either Georgia Southwestern or John Milledge.