Boyd Buchanan freshman Ace Bailey is a natural talent when it comes to making big plays on the hardwood.
A slow start could not faze the 6-foot-5 playmaker who delivered in big ways to help lead the Buccaneers to a 58-49 Division II East Region 2A victory over rival Notre Dame on Monday night.
Bailey scored all 13 of his points in the second half and was stellar in a 12-0 run for Boyd Buchanan early in the third quarter which swung the momentum. In just a one-minute span, Bailey grabbed a deflected pass for a score, blocked a corner 3-pointer, assisted Karson Gay for a layup and made an acrobatic driving bankshot to help his team take the lead.
"Ace is a competitor and I love coaching him," Bucs' coach Josh Templeton said of the 14-year-old freshman who dunked twice in the victory. "He made some mistakes early tonight, but he just kept battling and never checked out mentally. He gets better every day and is coachable. Tonight, he proved to be the difference in the game."
Boyd Buchanan (7-3, 2-0) was also able to turn to sophomore post Jacob Shockley in critical moments, as the big man had 10 of his 15 points in the second half.
Despite missing several key starters, Notre Dame (7-4, 1-1) battled extremely hard and trailed only 38-37 at the end of the third quarter as Bryson Smith drained a 3-pointer off an assist by Wesley Jones.
With a 46-all tie with three minutes left, the Bucs closed with authority. Senior John Craw made back-to-back key buckets off a layup assisted by Ryan Lopez with 1:23 left and then a 3-pointer from the top right of the arc with 58 seconds left to take a 55-49 lead.
Craw finished with 12 points in the win, while Caden Johnson was sharp with 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
"John has been working extremely hard and has been making big plays for us," Templeton added. "I am happy for him and this team. Our bigs Karson Gay and Shockley are doing a really nice job for us too."
Ooltewah 78, Central 68: Deleon Petty put on a spectacular performance as he scored 37 points and hit five 3-pointers for the Owls. The Purple Pounders also got 27 from Donorin Taylor. Ooltewah's AJ Hyndman finished with 15 points.
South Pittsburg 83, Lookout Valley 19: Reggie Hunter led the Pirates with 21 points, while Kobe Cooper added 15.
Boyd Buchanan 58, Notre Dame 54: Sophomore point guard Jalisa Sanders had a strong showing with 20 points, five rebounds, four steals and four assists to lift the Lady Bucs to a thrilling overtime region road victory.
Trailing 47-40 late in the fourth quarter, Boyd Buchanan (7-3, 2-0) tied things up off Addie Stone's second 3-pointer of the quarter to force overtime. Notre Dame's Kenzie Campbell led all with 24 points.
Bradley Central 47, Meigs County 37: Lee University signee Anna Muhonen supplied 22 points on 11-of-17 shooting, while Hannah Jones added nine points, nine rebounds and four assists in the home win for the Bearettes who improved to 9-1 overall.