There is much still to achieve for this Boyd-Buchanan basketball team, but if Saturday night's 66-47 District 5-A win at Arts & Sciences is any indication, the Buccaneers can thrive in ways they maybe couldn't have a year ago.
After racing to a 16-point first-half lead, Boyd-Buchanan (17-2, 3-0) found itself in a battle as the Patriots rallied to within six. The jam-packed CSAS gym started rocking and the Bucs appeared to be on the ropes.
Not to worry, though, as coach Cole Rose's team scored the final eight points of the third period and regained control.
"We knew they are a good team and this is a great rivalry and they were going to make a run," Rose said. "Coach (Mark) Dragoo is too good and their players are too talented, so we knew they wouldn't just roll over and die. I was really proud of [the Bucs], because we took their best shot and came right back.
"This was a sign of our emotional maturity, and it helps having seven seniors that have seen a whole lot. For us, it's a matter of setting new barriers and achieving new ceilings. For this senior group they have never won here, so this is a big check mark off their list before they graduated."
One of those seniors, guard Justus McMillan, helped give the Bucs the quick start they needed, scoring 12 of his game-high 30 points in the opening period and repeatedly getting in the lane to help set up teammates when he wasn't scoring. He also scored perhaps the game's biggest basket with a seven-point lead in the third period.
McMillan, his man over-guarding, crossed over and drove hard for a layup, the team's first basket in more than five minutes. He, like his coach, believes the win is a steppingstone for the Bucs, and he used the same two main words to describe it.
"This is another step and it shows our emotional maturity that we were able to withstand it and win," McMillan said. "The gym is always hot and we always look forward to coming here to play. To win by 19 in an atmosphere like this is great. Our intensity on defense was the key, because they usually come out and take it to us."
Austin Walker added 13 points and four blocked shots for the winners. Darius Graves led CSAS with 13 points, with Shunn Moorer and Nick Moore adding 10 apiece.
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.