Last Friday, the Briarwood Academy Lady Bucs ventured into what many teams would see as hostile territory - the gym at Gatewood School, in Eatonton. However, the Lady Bucs left with a 43-41 overtime win over the Lady Gators.
“That’s a good win. In the GISA, when you think about girls’ basketball you think Gatewood and Brentwood. That was a good win for our girls,” said Briarwood Head Coach Tommy Cain. “I think they gained a lot of confidence and that is something we definitely need this time of year – to be confident in what we are doing.”
The two teams matched each other 4-4 in first-quarter scoring. Then, Gatewood edged out to a second lead in the second quarter. At halftime, the Lady Gators led 18-15.
But in the second half, Briarwood fought back. At the end of the third, the Lady Bucs only trailed by 2, 30-28.
“We never quit playing hard. It was a very rough environment. It’s just tough to win over there, and I would like to think Briarwood will be a tough place to win,” said Cain.
The Briarwood squad battled a heavy press by Gatewood throughout the evening and found a way to send the game into overtime. The win came down to overtime foul shots.
“Kylie Parham stepped up to make two clutch free throws to put us 2 points up with probably less than 20 seconds to go in the game,” said Cain. “We hung on.”
The Lady Bucs sank four-of-five free throw attempts during overtime.
“We haven’t been a really good free throw team. We talk about it and we do practice free throw shooting. That was a lot of pressure for Kylie,” the coach said.
Briarwood had the lead, but Gatewood still was fighting back. Then Gatewood had two shots at basket, ball went out of bounds and Gatewood retained possession. But the Lady Bucs’ 2-point lead survived for the win.
“We were able to withstand all that and come up with a great win for the girls basketball program,” said Cain.
Kennedy Mosley led Briarwood in scoring with 16 points. Other key scoring came from Chloe Wilson, 8; Camille Wilson, 9; and Mattie Grae Cheely, 5.
“It was more balanced scoring. They know we like to go inside and they were double teaming Kennedy and making her shoot it outside, and Chloe and Camille picked it up. Kylie Parham played a good game for us. Mattie Grae had to take over all the ball handling and did a great job of it,” Cain said.
Gatewood and Briarwood will take the court against each other again this Friday as both teams prepare to head into the region tournament next week.
The Gatewood win last Friday followed a 36-25 loss at Brentwood on Tuesday of last week.
“It was not a pretty basketball game. Offensively it was tough and we didn’t shoot the ball outside and didn’t make free throws,” said Cain. “We only lost by 9 to a really good team that has been scoring in the 60s all year.”
Brentwood held a 13-12 lead at halftime, but outscored the Lady Bucs 25-13 in the second half.
“Defensively we played a really good game but we just couldn’t score,” Cain said.
Cheely led Briarwood scoring with 8.
Earlier this week, the Lady Bucs were pitted against Edmund Burke Academy, in Waynesboro. The game was after press time for this week’s Progress.
On Monday, Cain said a win over EBA would probably earn Briarwood a No. 2 seed in the region tournament and give them a first-round bye. The tournament will be next week at Briarwood.
The play-in games are set for Tuesday with the remainder of the action scheduled for Thursday and Friday.