Hilton Head Christian vs. Trinity Christian
Bulloch vs. David Emanuel
Crisp vs. Pinewood Christian
For the next three days, Bulloch Academy head coach Paul Webb and his Lady Gators host the eighth annual Lady Gator Classic pre-season basketball tournament.
Ten teams, including two reigning state championship squads, will converge on the school for three evenings of top-flight girls’ basketball action.
“We have the best player in Georgia Independent School Association, Madi Mitchell of Crisp Academy, participating in the Classic this year,” said Webb. “She has verbally committed to Mercer University. In addition, we have the GISA Class A state champions (Crisp Academy) as well as the Class AAA state champions (Tattnall Square Academy). Three of the four Class AAA Final Four participants will also be playing (Bulloch, Westfield and Tattnall).”
Also scheduled to appear are teams from Hilton Head Christian Academy, Trinity Christian School from Dublin, David Emanuel from Stillmore, Pinewood Christian from Bellville, Frederica Academy from St. Simons Island, Brentwood School from Sandersville and Augusta Preparatory School.
There will be three games today, three tomorrow and four on Thursday in the round-robin tournament. Admission is $7 per day and only GISA and Georgia Athletic Officials Association passes will be honored.
Today’s action begins at 4:30 p.m. when Hilton Head Christian takes on Trinity Christian of Dublin. The Lady Gators face David Emanuel at 6 p.m. and Crisp Academy battles Pinewood Christian at 7:30 p.m.
Bulloch Academy, the two-time defending Region 4-AAA champions, has already won its first games of the season.
The Lady Gators played two games in the Pinewood girls’ tournament last week and came away with a 61-23 blowout of Edmund Burke and a 37-28 win over Westfield.
The Lady Gators have some serious holes to fill from a 2012 Final Four team that went 27-4. Gone is Bulloch’s big gun, senior Anna Newton. The All-State and All-Region player led the squad in scoring (15.5 points per game) and rebounds (6.7 rebounds per game). Other departed pieces of the puzzle are graduated seniors Mary Margaret Reeves, Marianna Peebles and Lauren Dennard. Over the past four years, the girls helped the Lady Gators to an 89-34 record, two region championships and a Final Four appearance.
Seniors Chelsea Oglesby, Brooke Gilbert, Danielle Atkinson and Mary Kate Thomas get their chance to lead the Lady Gators.
Last season, Oglesby had the most playing time and averaged 8.1 ppg. and 5.5 rpg. Gilbert was cool under pressure while Atkinson was best known for her three-pointers. Thomas suffered a knee injury in the off-season but will come back strong in the second half of the season.
Juniors Ashley Burke, Pate Lomax, Page Spence, Kristen Kingery and Claudia Teske are a talented quintet. Burke, the quick ballhandler, had 9.3 ppg last season and Lomax, the feisty forward, averaged 5.2 ppg and pulled down 5.8 rpg. Newcomers Kingery and Teske, a German exchange student, will add valuable depth.
Sophomore Sarah Evans has come on strong in the pre-season and should see plenty of playing time as will freshman Mikay Sands.