For the fifth consecutive season, the Bulloch Academy girls’ basketball team will compete in the GISA state basketball tournament.
But, for the first time ever, the Lady Gators are one of just 16 teams remaining in Class AAA.
Bulloch Academy (19-9), the third seed from Region 4-AAA, takes on Tiftarea Academy (17-7), the second seed from Region 3-AAA, today at 4 p.m. at John Milledge Academy in Milledgeville. The Bulloch Academy faithful are meeting this morning at 11 a.m. at the school to help “send off” the team.
Last season, the Lady Gators shocked Class AA by backing their way into the tournament, catching fire in the opening rounds of the state tournament and advancing all the way to the championship game. Bulloch brought home the Class AA runner-up trophy and recorded the program’s best-ever record at 22-8.
The Gator girls will have their hands full today, according to BA head coach Paul Webb.
“Tiftarea was in the Final Four in Class AA for the past two years,” he said. “So they have the experience. They have two all-state caliber players. Courtney Albritton averages around 18 points and 11 rebounds per game. I was watching her on tape last night and she was shooting three’s from two or three steps beyond the arc. Shamika Fowler is a 5-10 forward who averages around 16 points per game and 13 rebounds.”
But Bulloch has a triple threat in juniors Taylor Collins, Haley Burke and sophomore Anna Newton. Forwards Collins and Newton make a dynamic duo down low while Burke is a major scoring threat from the outside.
In the Region 4-AAA tournament last week, Collins hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer to beat Westminster 27-25 in the opening round game. After losing to Trinity in the second round, the Gators staged a fierce fourth-quarter comeback to beat John Milledge 45-42 to claim the third seed.
In that game, Collins had the go-ahead basket with 41.9 seconds left in the game.