Hall Allen had spent most of this week in bed fighting the flu, so it's safe to say he wasn't 100 percent for Boyd-Buchanan's District 5-A basketball clash with CSAS on Friday night at spirited Tom Jett Gymnasium.
The scrappy junior did play and was one of four Buccaneer players in double figures as the hosts claimed a 58-50 victory in a game that was much closer than the final score might indicate.
The Bucs stretched a 17-15 lead after the first quarter to a seemingly-comfortable 36-20 difference at the half.
The Patriots turned up the defensive intensity in the second half and narrowed the difference to 40-35 by the end of the third stanza before knotting the score at 47-all on a putback by Nick Moore with 3:13 to play.
While the Patriots defensive pressure contributed to a 39-28 rebounding edge and was a big factor in a bunch of second-chance points, Justus McMillan took matters into his own hands with 2:54 showing in the final quarter.
McMillan, who topped the winners with 16 points, scrapped for an offensive rebound of his own, put it back up and scored as he was fouled. He calmly sank the free throw for a 50-47 edge and an emotional lift for a team looking for its first win over CSAS in coach Cole Rose's four-year run as the Buccaneer leader.
Austin Walker and Zach Jenkins both converted layups on breakaways as that precarious three-point lead stretched to six with less than a minute to play.
The Patriots never got any closer.
Needless to say, coach Rose was smiling from ear to ear after his team had improved to 10-5 overall and 2-1 in 5-A.
"We tried every way in the world to lose the game in the second half, but it's nice to finally come away with a win in a game like this," he began after exiting the Buccaneer dressing room.
"CSAS did a great job rebounding in the second half and all of those putbacks hurt us. I think our ability to build such a big lead may have been a key, but we had to hang on for dear life at the end.
"We had that nice lead, but it evaporated quickly. I still think we can be a whole lot better, but Justus came up big with that putback and the free throw. He went up strong and was rewarded for a great effort," Rose concluded with a smile.
CSAS coach Mark Dragoo certainly didn't make any excuses, but his heart was elsewhere after his mother-in-law had serious neck surgery and was in intensive care Friday night.
"One team came ready to play and one team didn't. I guess you can figure out by the final score which was which," Dragoo began after his team dropped to 6-7 overall and 2-1 in 5-A.
"We made poor decisions and we were poor on defense, although we decided to play in the second half. We also missed way too many free throws.
"I probably shouldn't have even been here tonight as this basketball game is really insignificant to me right now, but I'm headed back to the hospital," he said before leaving the gym.
McMillan scored 16 points to lead the victorious Bucs while Allen followed with 14.
Walker and Q.D. Cox were also in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
McMillan and Jenkins both had seven rebounds for the Bucs.
Patrick Taylor, who spearheaded that third-quarter surge for the Patriots with 10 points, finished with 17 before fouling out late.
Nick Moore came off the bench to score 14 points while grabbing 16 rebounds, including a dozen in the second half.
CSAS GIRLS 69, BOYD-BUCHANAN 40: A furious start for the Lady Patriots gave CSAS a 25-12 lead after one quarter, but a 33-12 difference in the second half turned a relatively-close game into a blowout.
Samantha Maffett scored 18 points to lead the Lady Patriots while Keturah Billens was next with 12. Christianna Smith finished with nine points while Ariona Lee and Brooke Mitchell both had seven.
Freshman Maddie Wright had another outstanding game for the Lady Bucs with 15 points, nine rebounds and nine blocked shots.
Abbie Sewell was also in double figures for Boyd-Buchanan with 10 points.
Arts & Sciences 25 11 16 17 -- 69
Boyd-Buchanan 11 16 9 3 -- 40
CSAS (69) -- Patmon, Little 6, K. Billen 12, McElvain, Mitchell 7, Maffett 18, Lee 7, Montgomery 2, R. Billen 4, Kinnard 4, Ealey, Smith 9.
BOYD-BUCHANAN (40) -- Abed 5, Balthrop 5, Reno, Davidson, Sewell 10, McCalla 5, Wright 15, Roland.
3-POINT GOALS: CSAS 1 (Maffett); Boyd-Buchanan 1 (Abed).
Arts & Sciences 15 5 15 15 -- 50
Boyd-Buchanan 17 19 4 18 -- 58
CSAS (50) -- Moorer 4, O'Hara 2, Woods, Brown 1, Carter 2, Taylor 17, Davenport 7, Houston 3, Moore 14.
BOYD-BUCHANAN (58) -- Allen 14, Arendale, McMillan 16, Cox 10, Nason, Jackson, Walker 11, Jenkins 7.
3-POINT GOALS: CSAS 2 (Davenport, Houston); Boyd-Buchanan 3 (Allen, McMillan 2).
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)