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Lady Gators win, BA boys fall short
BA Girls WEB
Bulloch Academy forward Sara Evans gets fouled on the way to the basket in the second quarter on Friday against Westminster at Gator Alley. Evans finished with 10 points. - photo by BRYAN BURKE/Special to the Herald

    Post players and centers ruled the court Friday night as Bulloch Academy split with Westminster Schools of Augusta in GISA Region 4-AAA action.
    In the girls’ game, senior Chelsea Oglesby, junior Pate Lomax and sophomore Sarah Evans scored 10 points each as the Lady Gators wore out the Lady Wildcats 48-31. All three were tremendous in the paint on both offense and defense.
    In the boys’ game, Westminster forwards Josh Jackson, David Bakulemwa and Nate Brooks filled up the lane to slow the Bulloch offensive machine as the Wildcats downed the Gators 51-41.
    In the opener, Oglesby and Lomax took the fight to Westminster big girl Amber Davis and nullified her presence on the court. She had just seven points.
    Meanwhile, guards Danielle Atkinson, Ashley Burke and Brooke Gilbert laid in wait for  Westminster ball handlers once they got across half court. Turnovers turned into points as Bulloch (19-1, 2-0) took a 13-4 lead after the first quarter. Oglesby scored six in the first eight minutes.
    Lomax was impressive in the second quarter, playing stellar defense, pulling down rebounds and scoring almost at will. She had seven in the second stanza. She had a three-point play at the 4:13 mark to give BA a 21-10 lead. Lomax grabbed a defensive rebound and fired it to Burke on a fast break at the 1:52 mark to cap a 9-0 run for a 30-10 advantage. She pulled down 11 boards on the night.
    Westminster (9-6, 0-1) came out firing in the third quarter and cut the lead but more good defense by the Gators caged the ‘Cats. Bulloch took a 39-18 lead after three.
    In the finale, the Gator guys (9-8, 2-1) went toe-to-toe with the physically superior Wildcats. Great defense and patient offense kept the run-and-gun visitors under wraps. Bulloch also had great first-half free-throw shooting, hitting 10-of-12 from the charity stripe.
    Bulloch took a 7-6 late in the first when senior Ja’Darius Smith and sophomore Hunter Perry canned shots from the line at the 2:10 mark. Junior Will Marsh added a bucket with 2:04 left for a 9-6 lead. Senior Matt Sheppard hit both with .3 of a second left for a 13-10 lead at the buzzer. Junior Smith Reeves scored five of his team-high 12 points while Smith and Perry had eight each.
    Westminster (9-7, 2-0) worked harder in the second quarter and came away with a 23-20 halftime advantage. The Gators did a masterful defensive job in their man package to slow the speedy Wildcats and stay in the game.
    In the third, WSA went to a 2-3 zone and packed the lane with Jackson, Bakulemwa and Brooks. This forced the Gators to move the ball around the perimeter and shoot outside. Bulloch went one-shot-and-out on several occasions while the Wildcats would grab the rebound and race down for a bucket.
    Guard Austen Stokes was the Wildcats fast-break man and notched eight of his game-high 20 points. He would drive the lane and launch a perfect floater to the basket.
    Westminster outpointed Bulloch 13-4 in the quarter for a 34-24 lead at the buzzer.
    The WSA stone wall continued in the fourth as the Wildcats went out to a 40-29 lead with 4:10 left.
    The Gators mounted a dramatic and effective comeback in the final minutes. The Wildcats began missing their free throws, allowing Bulloch to get the rebounds, race down the court, score and call timeouts. Smith drilled two quick threes, Reeves added one and BA head coach Chandler Dennard managed the clock. Bulloch sliced the WSA lead to seven, 48-41 with 24.7 left in the game.
    But Wildcats connected on their final free shots and Dennard used all his timeouts to bring the score to its final.