Big girls ruled the court Wednesday night in the Bulloch Academy gymnasium during the second day of the sixth annual Lady Gator Classic basketball tournament.
Trinity Christian School of Dublin freshman Sydney Bozeman and David Emanuel Academy junior Jerica Burnett led their respective teams to big wins in the night’s first two games. The third game was cancelled before the tournament even began due to violent weather in a team’s hometown.
In the opener, the muscular Burnett dominated the paint, scoring 14 points and playing tough defense as David Emanuel downed Frederica Academy, 38-29. In the second game, the lanky Bozeman showed her shooting skills by netting a tournament-high 22 points as Trinity whipped Robert Toombs Christian Academy 47-28.
The third game was supposed see host Bulloch Academy battle Brentwood School from Sandersville. But, at 4:45 p.m., Lady Eagle head coach Edwin Cook called BA head coach and tournament director Paul Webb to cancel.
Sandersville, located in Washington County, was under a tornado watch and a severe weather alert. Washington County Emergency Management Agency director Russell Riner advised Cook and Brentwood athletic director Bert Brown not to have the team and their fans on the roads because tornados had been spotted in nearby Warthan.
But in action on the hardwood, it was the battle of the big girls in the DEA-Frederica contest. Burnett and teammate Kristan Rigdon squared off against FA’s Claire Angelich and El Groenewald. Both defenses came out in 2-1-2 zones, making it hard to penetrate the lanes.
Angelich and Groenewald were tall and lean girls who play on the FA volleyball team while Burnett and Rigdon were more muscular and powerful. The DEA girls won the battle, netting 20 points to 11, and dominating the lane defensively.
DEA (1-0) took a 14-7 lead at the end of the opening quarter and extended it to 24-13 by halftime. The Lady Eagles cruised in the second half for the win. Caitlin Lamm added seven points for DEA while Brooke Bourn had eight for Frederica and both Angelich and Mary Ellen Shuman added seven each.
Trinity’s Bozeman towered over her competition but was slow to get started. RTCA (0-1) used its speed and quickness to gain an early advantage.
The Lady Crusaders fought to an 11-11 tie at the end of the first quarter and stayed close in the second quarter. TCS (1-1) held a 23-19 halftime lead. Bozeman had 11 points in the first half.
But the Dublin red-head began playing stop-ball defense in the second half, blocking shots, deflecting passes and controlling the middle.
Trinity outscored RTCA 13-4 in the third quarter to take a 36-23 lead.
Madison McLendon led Robert Toombs (0-1) with 10 points and Natalie Alexander added eight. For TCS, Taylor Shriver chipped in eight and Katie Rose Alligood had six.
The Lady Gator Classic concludes today with its final three games; Trinity Christian taking on Frederica at 5:30 p.m.; David Emanuel facing Bible Baptist of Savannah at 7 p.m. and Bulloch Academy squaring off with Robert Toombs at 8:30 p.m.