The Briarwood hoopsters started off the new year and GISA Region 1AA competition with both the Runnin' Bucs and the Lady Bucs taking wins over Curtis Baptist School of Augusta last Tuesday at Briarwood.
"Defense, defense, defense, we finally did it," said Runnin' Bucs coach Christian Tiller. "We finally decided we wanted to play defense, and without the defense (against Curtis), we would have gotten beat."
Briarwood's Katie Reese drives for a lay-up in the Lady Bucs' 41-35 win.
The Runnin' Bucs were well matched against Curtis. Neither team was able to pull ahead, until overtime, when the Bucs finally got a few baskets ahead and held on to win 44-40 in a "big, big region game."
The "story of the game" was the defensive play of junior Seth Williford.
"He played the best game of defense that I've ever seen any kid in high school play," Coach Tiller said. "It was unbelievable."
Junior Joseph Batrous led the scoring against Curtis with 19 points, followed by Williford with 10 points.
The boys "B" team defeated Curtis 36-29. Andrew Johnson led the scoring with 12 points.
The Lady Bucs hit seven-of-seven free throws in the fourth quarter for a 41-35 win over the Lady Crusader.
"That (free throw shooting) was probably the bright spot from the game. That and rebounding," Coach Clayton Parrish said. "We did a pretty good job of rebounding.
Briarwood's Seth Williford gets fouled as he takes a shot.
"The not so bright spots were turnovers and (a lack of) defensive intensity," he continued. "Curtis played a two-one-two zone, which we haven't seen much, and we didn't execute well against it."
Passing also proved to be a problem for the Lady Bucs who had a number of turnovers.
"It wasn't because they created the turnovers," Coach Parrish said. "It's because we did a poor job of passing."
Senior Katie Reese scored 12 points for the Lady Bucs, followed by sophomore Cassie Pickrell with 10 points. Reese also scored three of the seven free throw points in the fourth. Senior Beth Gerlach scored two of the seven free points, while sophomore Whitney Carani contributed the final two of the seven points.
The "B" team girls had little trouble with their counterparts, taking a 40-18 victory over the "B" Lady Crusaders.
Brittney Phelps led the scoring with 12 points, followed by Sarah Nutial with 10 points.
The Briarwood basketball teams will travel to Augusta on Friday for a non-region match up with Augusta Prep. The boys "B" team will play at 4:30 p.m., followed by the girls' varsity at 6 p.m. and the boys' varsity at 7:30 p.m.
The teams will travel to Sandersville next Tuesday, Jan. 10, for an important region game. The boys "B" team will play at 4:30 p.m., followed by the girls' varsity at 6 p.m. and the boys' varsity at 7:30 p.m.