Briarwood Academy's Anne Wills and Blythe Ansley connected with clutch free throws in the closing seconds of last Friday night's game to propel the Lady Buccaneers to a 49-45 win over the Westminster Lady Wildcats.
The four-point victory kept the Lady Bucs in the undefeated ranks of GISA basketball with a perfect 9-0 record. The squad is also currently 1-0 in region play.
Lady Buc Katie Reese goes for a score against Westminster.
Briarwood has 12 games remaining in its regular season, and out of those games, 11 of them are region contests. So, the toughest part of the schedule lies ahead of the Lady Bucs, as they prepare to meet the challenges of capturing the region championship.
On Saturday, Dec. 18, the Lady Bucs traveled to Columbia County and tangled with the Augusta Prep Lady Cavaliers. Briarwood captured its seventh win of the year with a 44-37 victory.
Augusta Prep controlled an 8-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 22-18 lead at halftime. However, the Lady Bucs fought back and outscored the Lady Cavaliers 15-7 and 11-8 respectively in the third and fourth quarters to post the win.
Wills was the leading scorer for Briarwood with 25 points. She was followed by Ashley Pickard with 10 points, Katie Reese with five points, and Mallory Jo Bradshaw and Alyssa Sutton with two points each.
Pickard was six-for-eight in the free throw category, while Reese went three-for-four in the same category. As a whole, the Lady Buc squad shot 50 percent from the line with a nine-for-18 performance.
On Tuesday, Jan. 4, the Lady Bucs traveled to Curtis Baptist in Augusta and came away with another 44-37 victory. This win was the first region victory for the Lady Buccaneers.
Briarwood led 10-7 at the end of the first period and controlled a slim 21-18 lead at halftime. The Lady Crusaders of Curtis tied the game at 30-30 as the end of the third quarter came, but Briarwood outscored Curtis 14-7 in the final period to record the seven-point victory.
Wills was the leading scorer for Briarwood with 26 points. She was followed by Reese with eight points, Pickard with six points and Cassie Pickrell with four points.
In a nail-biter of a game that went down to the closing seconds to determine the winner, the Lady Buccaneers connected on four straight free throws in the last 22 seconds of the game to defeat the Westminster Lady Wildcats 49-45 last Friday night, Jan. 7.
With the game tied at 45-all, Wills hit a free throw with 21.6 seconds remaining in the game to put the Lady Bucs ahead 46-45. Then after Westminster missed a shot down deep on the other side of the court, Wills rebounded and was immediately fouled. She then bucketed two back-to-back free throws to put Briarwood ahead 48-45 with 8.5 seconds remaining in the game. After another quick foul, Lady Buc Blythe Ansley put the icing on the cake with 4.1 ticks remaining, as she connected on a free throw to propel Briarwood to a 49-45 advantage.
Both teams fought to an 11-11 tie at the end of the first period, before the Lady Bucs outscored Westminster 14-9 in the second quarter to take a 25-20 lead into the locker rooms at halftime. The Lady Wildcats outscored Briarwood 14-7 in the third quarter to take the lead by a slim 34-32 margin. The Lady Bucs outscored Westminster 17-11 in the fourth period to record their ninth victory of the season without a defeat.
Wills and Reese scored in double figures for Briarwood. Wills bucketed 16 points to become the leading scorer, while Reese followed with a splendid 12-point performance. Other scorers included Pickard with eight points, Sutton with four points, Ansley with three points, and Bradshaw, Pickrell and Beth Gerlach with two points each.
The Lady Bucs will be on the road for their next three region games. On Jan. 14, they will travel to Monticello to play Piedmont Academy, then on Jan. 15, they will venture to Monroe Academy, and then on Jan. 17, they will travel to Waynesboro to play Edmund Burke Academy.
The Lady Bucs will be back at home on Tuesday, Jan. 18 to play Curtis Baptist, and then again on Jan. 21, when they play Gatewood Academy.