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Lady Gators win OT thriller

Lady Gator Classic
Thursday's Scores   
    Frederica 53, David Emanuel 26
    Westfield 54, Brentwood 24
    Bulloch 43, Tattnall Square 36, OT
    Pinewood vs. Trinity, late.

    Bulloch Academy senior Danielle Atkinson scored only two points in Wednesday’s matchup against defending GISA Class AAA state champion Tattnall Square Academy in the eighth annual Lady Gator Classic.
    But her two free throws may go down as the biggest of her career.
    Atkinson calmly canned both shots from the charity stripe with 25.3 seconds remaining in regulation to knot the score at 34-34 and eventually send the game into overtime.
    Once in the extra four minutes, it was junior Pate Lomax’s turn to shine as she scored six of nine points to lift the Lady Gators to a wild 43-36 victory.
    Lomax, who seemed to play tentatively early in the game, came on strong when she needed to and battled toe-to-toe with Tattnall big girl Kendra Green. Lomax’s smooth glide in the lane helped her score a game-high 17 points while Green had just eight.
    In the earlier games, Frederica Academy blasted David Emanuel Academy 53-26 and Westfield School whipped Brentwood School 59-24. At press time, the final game of the tournament, Pinewood Christian against Trinity Christian of Dublin, was still ongoing.
    The Lady Gators (5-0) had their work cut out for them against the powerful Lady Trojans.
    Tattnall set the pace early, pushing the ball up the court quick and hard while throwing a blanket-like man defense on Bulloch’s girls.
    While the Lady Gators didn’t back down, they couldn’t handle the pace in the first quarter and fell behind 14-3 by the buzzer.         TSA’s Green, Haley Gordon and Jordan Allen paced the Lady Trojans. Allen led the Lady Trojans with 10 points.
    Bulloch junior point guard Ashley Burke opened the second quarter with a 12-foot jumper and the fight was on. Lomax, sophomore Sarah Evans and freshman Mikay Sands battled down low. Burke was magically with the ball and directed a 12-2 comeback in the quarter. At intermission, TSA had just a slim 16-15 advantage.
    In the third, Tattnall rallied back and opened a six-point lead, 23-17, on Elizabeth Wainwright’s three pointer. Missed free-throw opportunities helped TSA ahead. On the night, the Lady Gators hit only 13-of-31 from the line.
    TSA went up by 10, 28-18, early in the fourth and it looked as if the Lady Gators were done. But Burke’s steal and layup with 5:50 left stared a momentum swing. The Bulloch girls doubled their efforts and it paid off. They were able to chip away at the Tattnall lead while playing great defense and sweeping the defensive boards.
    Junior Page Spence scored her four points in the final minutes; hitting two free throws at the 2:44 mark that cut the lead to 34-39 and pushing in a layup with 45 seconds to pull her team to within a bucket, 34-32.
After Atkinson sent the game into overtime, TSA turned up the defensive pressure but ball-handler Burke was not phased and kept the Lady Gators on track for the upset. She also worked hard on defense, creating loose balls and setting up scoring opportunities.