Smith Reeves hit both ends of a one-and-one opportunity with 16.2 seconds left to help lift Bulloch Academy to a 51-48 victory over Frederica Academy Tuesday.
In the earlier girls’ game, the tandem of Chelsea Oglesby and Pate Lomax were unstoppable in the paint as they paced a 51-25 win over the Lady Knights.
In the dramatic finale, the BA junior was fouled with 16.2 seconds left as the Gators tried to pass the ball around to run out the clock with a 49-48 lead.
Reeves calmly stepped to the line and sunk both free throws to give the Gators the advantage. Reeves led the Gators with 14 points, eight of which came in the first quarter.
Frederica inbounded the ball, brought it across the half-court line and called a timeout with 9.8 left. FA head coach Ed Wilson drew up an offensive play for his Knights as BA headman Chandler Dennard talked defensive strategy.
On the inbounds, the Knights shot the ball around the perimeter looking for the open three-pointer to tie the game. With 1.2 left, the ball left a player’s hand at the top of the arch but bounced off the rim. A Frederica player grabbed the rebound under the basket but senior Bill Sheppard knocked the ball out of his hands as the buzzer sounded.
The win capped a wild and wooly contest which seemed more like brawl at times and a horse race at other times. Forty fouls, including three technicals, were called in the game.
Amid the errant passes, missed shots, poor rebounding and sometimes clumsy play of the third quarter, Bulloch (6-7) managed to take a 36-30 lead midway through the third. A Reeves steal and coast-to-coast layup at the 2:45 mark gave the Gators a 38-30 advantage. But the hard-charging Knights (7-2) kept pushing and outscored BA 8-1 down the stretch to cut the margin to one, 39-38, by the buzzer.
Both squads battled hard in the foul-laden first half. Bulloch led after both quarters, 14-11 after the first eight minutes and 30-28 at halftime.
Sheppard added eight for Bulloch while Hunter Perry and Ja’Darius Smith had seven each.
In the girls’ game, Oglesby and Lomax ruled both ends of the floor. The senior led with 16 points while the junior added 11. Neither played in the fourth quarter.
Bulloch (16-1) came out in its signature full-court press and took an 8-0 lead. Frederica (4-6) rallied back to cut the advantage of 12-6 with 2:03 left in the quarter.
But the Lady Gators began an offensive run which didn’t end until the halftime buzzer.
Great passing and even better rebounding highlighted the 10-minute span as Bulloch outscored the overmatched Lady Knights 24-5 to take a 36-11 lead at intermission. The BA defense caused turnovers and steals as guards Ashley Burke, Brooke Gilbert, Page Spence and Danielle Atkinson created chaos in the passing lanes.
Bulloch took a 46-19 lead at the end of the third. Head coach Paul Webb emptied his bench in the fourth, even calling up some talented eighth-graders to get some varsity action.
The middle-school Gators made it a clean sweep with two wins in the afternoon.
The girls opened victory lane with a 30-9 drubbing of Frederica. Alivia Collins led with 13 points and Mattie Wynn Hendrix added eight. The boys survived a fourth-quarter comeback to take a 31-27 victory.
Wright Rockett and Trevor Mason scored 11 points each.
Bulloch Academy hosts cross-county rival Robert Toombs in middle-school and varsity action Friday.