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Lady Gators in state championship
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Bulloch Academy junior forward Page Spence is fouled while sinking a basket during the second half of the Lady Gators' state semifinal victory Friday in Macon. - photo by BRYAN BURKE/Special



    MACON — A balanced trio of rebounding, scoring and defense lifted the Bulloch Academy Lady Gators to lopsided 79-48 victory over the Westfield Lady Hornets in the GISA Class AAA semifinal game here Friday night.
    Bulloch (32-1) used a quick, uptempo offense to keep the Lady Hornets (18-9) on their heels. Lady Gator point guard Ashley Burke ran the floor quick and aggressively, finding the open player with pin-point precision. The Lady Gators’ tight man defense and deadly half-court trap didn’t let the Westfield ballhandlers breath.
    But the tough inside play of seniors Chelsea Oglesby and Mary Kate Thomas, junior Pate Lomax and freshman Mikay Sands was the biggest factor of the night.
    “We’ve got such athletic post players,” said BA head coach Paul Webb. “They can run the floor, defend and hit the short jumper as well as the putback off the glass. I thought all four of them played very well.”
    Lomax led all scorers with 26 points while Sands had 17. Oglesby netted 10 while Thomas added valuable minutes off the bench.
    The Lady Gators (32-1) will battle Stratford Academy in the state championship game today at 6:40 p.m. The Eaglettes defeated the Heritage School 50-28 in the night’s earlier game.
    “Stratford is loaded,” said Webb. “It will be a good, tough game.”
    The Lady Gators started off strong, building a 16-5 lead midway through the first quarter. Lomax and Oglesby dominated the middle on both ends of the court. Burke, senior Danielle Atkinson and junior Page Spence harassed the Lady Hornets and caused turnovers with their quick defensive play.
    Atkinson and Burke hit back-to-back treys during the four-minute mark. The senior put back a rebound at the 3:41 mark for the 11-point lead. 
    Westfield rallied behind the tough play of Katlyn Mosely, cutting the lead to eight at the 3:06 mark.
    But Bulloch kept feeding the ball to Lomax in the middle and the junior delivered. She nailed the short jumper with deadly consistency to push the BA lead to 22-13 by the buzzer.
    The Lady Gators limited the Perry squad to one shot down the floor in the quarter. Oglesby, Lomax and Sands won the rebounding battle.
    In the second, Oglesby scored Bulloch’s first two baskets for a 26-13 lead. But the senior was whistled for her second foul and rotated to the bench. Lomax took over, floating in the short jumpers and pushing home offensive rebounds but missing from the free-throw line. Still the junior had 14 points in the first half.
    The Lady Gators outpointed Westfield 10-6 for a 36-19 lead with 3:30 left in the half. Mosely tried to rally the Lady Hornets, trimming the lead to 14, with 2:07 left. Mosely had 12 points in the first half.
    Atkinson nailed another three pointer, this one with 1:30 left, and then added the final bucket of the half for a commanding 44-24 lead. The senior had 10 in the first 16 minutes.
    Lomax was on fire early in the third, hitting the first two BA baskets to push the lead to 48-24. Mosely, who finished with 21 for WF, worked hard to help her cause but the Lady Gators had amassed too much of a lead. The Lady Gators held a 19-point lead, 62-43, at the horn.
    In the fourth, Bulloch stayed strong and increased their lead to 30.