Boyd-Buchanan's Buccaneers were the epitome of relentless Friday night at Grace Academy.
The Bucs took an early lead against the Golden Eagles in their District 5-A high school boys' basketball game, then seemingly answered any Grace run with a better one and cruised to a 72-45 victory.
Coming into the game, the teams were tied with 2-1 district records. Boyd-Buchanan (14-6) now remains tied atop the league standings with one-loss Arts & Sciences, but the Bucs hold the tiebreaker by virtue of winning over the Patriots by eight after CSAS had won by seven in the first meeting.
"There's a lot of district games left," Boyd-Buchanan coach Cole Rose said. "We've still got some big hurdles."
The upcoming opponents must consider the Bucs to be a big hurdle, particularly after the message they sent Friday. They scored the first five points on the way to a 13-4 start and never trailed.
Rose noted that his team was able to surprise the Golden Eagles in a game last year, so this time around his players were motivated to prove that was no fluke.
"I think they really wanted this game," Rose said. "They had something to prove."
Boyd-Buchanan led 21-14 after one quarter, then outscored Grace (7-9) in each of the other quarters, too, capped by a 20-8 edge in the fourth.
"That's the thing we've been looking for -- playing four good quarters," Rose said. "We had some lulls. Any time you play a good team, they're going to make some runs.
"Any time you come to Grace you expect a tight game, especially it being a rivalry game like this, Friday night, winter time. I'm pleased the way it went, for sure."
Boyd-Buchanan's Hall Allen had four 3-point goals among his 18 points. Justus McMillan added 17 points, and the two starting guards combined for 11 assists. Zach Jenkins contributed 14 points and nine rebounds, and Austin Walker scored 12.
"They've got good spacing and they're very unselfish with the ball," Grace coach Jon Mattheiss said of the Bucs. "They move quick. Then to magnify the problem, we were going for too many steals instead of continuing with our man.
"They were definitely focused and ready to play. I thought we were, too, but once things started going south we didn't respond. We didn't move on offense and defense. We were watching."
Post player Austin Powell scored Grace's first four points but picked up his second foul at 3:21 of the first quarter and was called for his third before halftime. He fouled out with 2:14 to play with six points.
Two other Golden Eagles were hit with technical fouls in the third quarter right after being called for personal fouls.
"That's the least physical we've been allowed to play all year," Mattheiss said. "We've also got to be smart enough to adjust."
Blake Savard paced Grace with 15 points.
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.