This wasn't the way it was supposed to be.
The Briarwood Academy girls' basketball team, only one season removed from a trip to the state championship game, has found itself struggling this year, stumbling out of the gate with an overall record of 6-6 and a 1-2 record in region play.
But what is probably a decent start for most teams is a disappointing one for the Bucs, who in the two previous seasons went 52-9.
Briarwood's Mallory Jo Bradshaw goes up for two in the Lady Bucs win against Curtis Baptist Tuesday night.
Jason B. Smith
Head Coach Clayton Parrish attributes the slow start to several factors.
"We're just struggling right now. We don't seem to be playing with a lot of intensity. It's kind of hard to figure out," he said. "It's a lack of intensity defensively, and we're just playing really inconsistent."
The girls lost Saturday to defending state champs Brentwood Academy, 65-42.
With six minutes left to go in the game, Coach Parrish replaced all of his starters.
"They weren't producing like they should have," he said of the move.
Despite the unexpected early season adversity, Coach Parrish said he remains optimistic that his team will turn things around.
"We've got to keep working, and hopefully things will click and they'll gel and start playing together," he said.
Boys continue region play
The boys' team had to deal with a tough non-region schedule at the beginning of its season, which included several games against AAA teams. With an overall record of 2-4 and a region record of 2-1, the squad is looking up as it heads into the heart of region play.
One thing playing to the Bucs' advantage is team chemistry, something Coach Parrish said has definitely played in his team's favor early in the season.
"This group of seniors has been starting for me since the ninth grade. They know each other real well, and they work together real well. I'm happy where they are, and if we can keep it going, we can get us a pretty solid record going into the later part of region play."
The Bucs won a thriller against Edmund Burke Friday, 43-39 in overtime. Neither the Bucs nor Edmund Burke shot the ball particularly well, and Briarwood found themselves down by 10 at halftime. In the second half, Briarwood turned up the intensity on defense and held Edmund Burke to only 12 points the entire half.
But the high from Friday became a low on Saturday, when the Bucs lost to defending state champs Brentwood, 61-55. Despite the setback, Coach Parrish liked what he saw out of his team.
"We shot the ball really good. It was just a couple of buckets here and there that they hit that we didn't. We just came up short," he said.
The boys team next hosts Gatewood Friday night at 6 p.m. On Saturday, both girls and boys teams will travel to play region foe John Hancock.