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Briarwood’s Mattie Grae Cheely fights to get the ball past the Gatewood defense.

Briarwood Academy’s Lady Bucs will hit the court this Thursday at 7 p.m. in the GISA Region 4AA tournament, which is being hosted at Briarwood.

Head Coach Tommy Cain said on Monday he talked with his girls about how the regular season is over and now begins “season two.”

The Lady Bucs wrapped up regular season play this past Friday. Although that was a loss, a strong run in recent region action gives the girls a 7-3 record and a No. 2 seed in this week’s tournament.

Thursday they face the winner of a Tuesday night play-in game between Edmund Burke Academy and Thomas Jefferson Academy. Results of that game were not available at press time Tuesday.

“One of our main goals this year was to get to the state tournament and we achieved that when we beat Burke and Gatewood back to back. That guaranteed us second place,” said Cain. “It’s just a credit to the young ladies that are out there working hard every day to get better and you know they put their nose to the grind and got after it and worked hard and earned their right into this year.”

Ending regular season in the top four among region teams means as No. 2 seed the Lady Bucs, even if they lose, will still be in top four in their region.

“We are guaranteed fourth place in the region if we lose both games, which we aren’t planning on,” said Cain. “Our goal now is to win this region.”

If the Lady Bucs win on Thursday, then they will advance to the region title game Friday at 7 p.m. If they lose Thursday, then they will play Friday at 4 p.m.

Last Friday, the Lady Bucs concluded regular season action by hosting Gatewood. A week earlier the Lady Bucs defeated the Lady Gators in Eatonton. Friday, Gatewood came to Briarwood and turned the tables.

“Gatewood might have wanted that game a little more than we did,” said Cain.

The Briarwood coach said his team had already secured the No. 2 seed with earlier region wins, including over Gatewood, and did not seem to play like they would have played in a must-win game.

“Our girls might have been a little tired. They might have been a little mentally tired because we had to win two of those last four games to get to second seed. We just had a really tough game Tuesday night at Burke. We had to come back from behind and win and hold on at the end. It’s been a rough stretch. But, I didn’t think we really got after it like we needed to.”

Gatewood won 45-33.

“Gatewood did a great job of doubling down on Kennedy (Mosley) and our other shooters didn’t pick up the slack, except for Mattie Grae (Cheely),” said Cain.

Cheely hit four 3-pointers against Gatewood and  led Briarwood scoring with 14 points. Kennedy Mosley, the team’s usual leading scorer, ended the night with 6. Chloe Wilson also scored 6.

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