Boyd-Buchanan showed two things Friday night in its District 5-A boys' high school basketball game against Arts & Sciences. The Buccaneers know how to blow a big lead, but they also know how to regroup from it.
The 18-point lead they built late in the first half was erased as the Patriots tied the game with a little more than three minutes to play. But a three-point play by Boyd-Buchanan's Justus McMillan broke that tie, and from there the Bucs did the necessary things to hang on and beat CSAS 58-50.
The victory was the first for Boyd-Buchanan (10-5, 2-1) since Cole Rose took over as coach four seasons ago. The Patriots (6-7, 2-1) won an earlier meeting 51-44 on Dec. 14 at CSAS.
Grace Academy leads the district at 2-0 but has yet to play either of these teams.
The score was 47-47 with Boyd-Buchanan coming out of a timeout when McMillan powered in a basket and made the ensuing free throw with 2:54 to play.
"He showed a lot of heart," Rose said. "He initially got blocked and stayed with it."
Seemingly shaking off the results in the second half to that point, the Bucs were able to pull away from the Patriots by holding them without a basket after Nick Moore's tying reverse layup at the 3:15 mark. Meanwhile Boyd-Buchanan beat the CSAS press for layups by Austin Walker and Zach Jenkins before icing it with 4-of-6 free-throw shooting in the last 44.4 seconds.
"Their half-court stuff was bothering us," Rose said. "To score off their full-court pressure was really big. The last four or five possessions we finally started getting some stops, and we boxed out."
Boyd-Buchanan had a 24-6 run in the first half that led to a 36-18 advantage. The Bucs held the Patriots without a field goal in the second quarter, but CSAS returned the favor in the third.
"It evaporated quickly," Rose said of his team's big lead. "I think it evaporated along with our defensive rebounding. I think they both went to the same place. [The Patriots] hit the boards hard. That's how they came back. They out-toughed us. They were a lot more physical in the second half."
CSAS coach Mark Dragoo chalked up the big first-half deficit to poor decision-making and poor defense from his team.
"What did they have at halftime, 36 points?" Dragoo said. "At our place they had like 18 or 19 in the first half, so they almost doubled that. We were not playing defense at all. Until we do, that's not going to be pretty. Our defense was better in the second half, but still it wasn't good."
McMillan led the Bucs with 16 points and Hall Allen added 14. Walker contributed 11 and Q.D. Cox chipped in with 10.
Patrick Taylor's 18 points led CSAS. Moore had eight of his 12 in the final 6:13.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.