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Gators roll past John Milledge
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Bulloch Academy senior Brandon Walker lays one up and in against John Milledge Tuesday at home. - photo by BRYAN BURKE/Special to the Herald

    Senior Zach Altany scored 30 points to help lift Bulloch Academy over a tough John Milledge squad 72-62 in GISA Region 4-AAA action Tuesday.
    The Gators (10-3 overall and 3-0 in region play) either seemed to toy with the Trojans (10-6, 1-2) throughout the contest or they just couldn’t put the hard-nosed kids from Milledgeville away.
    BA senior Davis Howell opened the game with a three-point bomb. Teammate Win Lee nailed a 10-foot jumper with 2:55 left to put the Gators up 12-2. The BA faithful seemed poised for a runaway.roll
    But the Trojans didn’t travel two hours on a bus in the cold to be blown out.
    Senior Cody Wood and Dusty Tyson led the late first-quarter charge, which kept the game close. BA took a 20-11 lead after the first eight minutes.
    In the second, the Gators kept their 10-point lead but the Trojans weren’t about to back down. The run-and-gun shootfest raged on. Altany scored nine while JMA big man Logan Colburn added six and Wood had five. On the night, Colburn had 16 points, Tyson added 14 and Wood had 11.
    Wood’s smooth two-handed jam at the 4:36 mark cut the advantage to eight, 30-22. Lee responded with an acrobatic layup at the 4:10 mark to push the lead back to 10. Sophomore Ross Rainey drained a three-ball at the buzzer to give BA a 41-31 lead.
    JMA came out of intermission with a new mindset and Colburn led the way. The Trojans scored six unanswered points to trim the BA advantage to 41-37 by the 6:02 mark.
With point guard Lee on the bench with three fouls, the Gators seemed to meltdown. The Trojans kept the pressure up and trimmed the lead to three, 47-44, with under three minutes in the quarter. Bulloch clung to a 51-48 advantage at the buzzer.
    But the Gators regained their confidence in the fourth.
    Lee, fellow senior Brandon Walker and junior Jaylen Evans all picked up the pace. Altany took the load on his back at times. The three-point specialist had eight points while Walker added five and both Lee and Evans had four.
    Altany’s three-ball with 4:25 left in the game gave the Gators a comfortable 13-point lead, 66-53. Lee and Walker scored 11 each on the night while Evans added eight.
    JMA put up one last surge and cut the advantage to seven, 66-59, with two minutes remaining.
    The Gators host Bethesda in region showdown Thursday.
Lady Gators 56, Lady Trojans 46
    The Bulloch Academy girls outscored John Milledge Academy 15-5 in the third quarter to break open a tight contest and upset the GISA Region 4-AAA leaders.
    Junior Taylor Collins and sophomore Anna Newton muscled their way inside for 19 and 16 points respectively and dominated the paint on both ends of the floor. With both girls seemingly over their illnesses from last week, the Lady Gators (13-3 overall and 1-2 in region play) got their first region victory in fine fashion.
     Collins rumbled with the Lady Trojans in the first quarter, going to the line often as she went down on the low post and got fouled.  Newton got into the action with her patented sweet shot from the free-throw line. Both scored six each to lead the Lady Gators to a 14-12 lead.
    The fifth-ranked Lady Trojans (13-5, 2-1) utilized the outside shooting skills of Mollie Ritchie, Sarah Miller and Maggie Morris to mount a second-quarter comeback. Both Morris and Miller had six points each. Miller led JMA with 17 points while Ritchie, who drilled three three-pointers and was 7-of-10 from the line, had 16. 
    JMA had sharp, crisp passing around the perimeter. The visitors outscored BA 14-13 in the second eight minutes. Newton had six and Collins added five in the quarter for the Lady Gators as they took a 27-26 lead.
But the tide turned in the third.
    Bulloch used a tight zone defense to keep the Lady Trojans away from their high-percentage shooting sites. Newton had several blocks and senior guard Rachel Gilbert, along with sophomore guard Lauren Dennard, had a couple of steals and caused turnovers. All five Lady Gators crashed the boards hard after every shot.
    Junior Haley Burke scored six quick points to lead a 15-5 charge. Junior Amelia Akins converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:05 left to give BA a 42-31 lead.
    The 10-point lead held up in the final quarter. Collins scored six and Gilbert added five.
    The Bulloch girls travel to Augusta Friday to battle region foe Westminster.