_DSC0799.tif

Briarwood Academy senior Phoebe Brooks is shown driving past Brentwood’s Cameran Francis when the two teams played at Briarwood near the end of the regular season. Last week in the region tournament championship game, Brooks was selected as Briarwood’s player of the game.

After taking second in the region tournament last Friday, Briarwood Academy’s Lady Bucs have earned a first-round bye in the GISA Class AA state tournament.

This Friday, at Tattnal Square Academy, the Lady Bucs will face the winner of a Tuesday night round-one game between Southwest Georgia Academy and Robert Toombs Academy.

In the Region 4AA tournament last week, the Lady Bucs started with a Tuesday-night 55-36 win over Thomas Jefferson Academy. After advancing into a Thursday round-two game, Briarwood’s girls defeated Augusta Prep Day 38-35. That win propelled the Lady Bucs into the region championship game against Brentwood, who was hosting the tournament. Brentwood won 37-35.

“I think our girls probably played our best defensive game of the year as far as I am concerned,” said Tommy Cain, Briarwood Academy head coach. “We basically were playing man to man on their three best players.”

“I think our girls took that next step and proved that they can play with the best, because they are pretty dadgum good when they want to be,” he added.

The two teams matched up fairly evenly early with each scoring 11 points in the first quarter. However, Briarwood owned the second quarter with a 6-1 scoring advantage which gave the Lady Bucs a 17-12 lead at halftime. Again in the third quarter, the two teams nearly matched each other in scoring. This time Brentwood put up 8 points to Briarwood’s 7. Heading into the final quarter, the Lady Bucs led 24-20.

Brentwood then outscored the Lady Bucs 17 to 11 in the final quarter for the win.

“We just needed to score a couple of times and had the opportunity and didn’t,” said Cain. “They’re not No. 1 in the state for nothing. They were able to do what it took to come back and win the game.”

A big accomplishment of the night for Briarwood was holding Brentwood’s Cameran Francis to just 8 points. According to Cain, she is one of the top scoring players in the state.

“Phoebe Brooks did a tremendous job on the Francis girl, held her to 8,” said Cain. “If you let them stand and shoot they are pretty good, real good.”

Cain selected Brooks, a senior, as Briarwood’s player of the game.

On the offensive side for Briarwood, Kennedy Mosley led scoring with 13 and was closely followed by Brooks with 12.

The Lady Bucs likely are on a course to clash again with nemesis Brentwood.

In two regular season meetings, Brentwood won 54-43 the first time and 54-48 the second time. Then last week in the third meeting the Lady Bucs came within just 2 points.

In the state playoffs, both teams have a first-round bye.

In the second round, Briarwood is expected to defeat the winner of a first-round game between Southwest Georgia and Robert Toombs Academy.

In similar fashion, Brentwood is expected to take a second-round win as they face the winner of a first-round game between Terrell Academy and Edmund Burke Academy.

If those wins all materialize, Briarwood will get a fourth shot at Brentwood in third-round action Thursday, March 4, at Georgia Southwestern. If all works out that way, the loser is done and the winner will advance to the state championship game. Cain thinks Westwood will advance from the lower bracket and said they have won state the past two years.

The Class AA championship game will be played at Georgia Southwestern at 2:40 p.m., Saturday, March 6.