Senior Joseph Batrous scored his 1,000th career point last week as he led the Briarwood Runnin' Bucs to an important GISA Region 1AA win over Westminster Christian Academy in Watkinsville last Friday.
Now, midway thru the region schedule, the Runnin' Bucs are in the third place in their region standings with a 3-3 record, while the Lady Bucs are in fifth place with a 1-5 record.
Both teams began the second half of the region schedule with Brentwood Tuesday night in Sandersville.
The Bucs picked up momentum last week as they won two of the region games they played, their only losses coming in double overtime to Gatewood in Eatonton.
"Up to that point, we played as well as we've played all year," Coach Christian Tiller said of the Bucs' effort. "We played with a lot of heart."
The Bucs were up by four at the half and up by one a the end of the third quarter, but with 2.8 seconds left in the game, the team was down by three, 46-49. Coach Tiller called a time-out and set up a play. When the Gators blocked the pass to the intended shooter, Batrous, Ryan Gerlach in bounded the ball to senior Davis Griffin who hit a three-pointer as the buzzer to tie the game at 49 all.
In the first four minute overtime, the Bucs were up by four at the end of the period, but a quick free throw and a three-pointer by the Gators tied the game at 56 all, sending the two teams into double overtime.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, junior Hughlon Mays fouled out of the game, "which changed the complexion of our team."
The Bucs just "ran out of steam" in the second over-time and fell behind. Forced to foul to try to catch up, the Bucs watched as the Gators continued to hit the free throws, increasing their lead for a 63-68 double overtime win.
Mays, who was one of the Bucs forced to miss much of the first half of the season because of a football injury, had a "coming out" party, according to Coach Tiller.
"He played really, really well and has since then," he said.
Junior Dave Joesbury had a good first half, but then rolled an ankle, reinjuring the same ankle that caused him to miss several games earlier in the season. Nonetheless, the 6'4" Joesbury stayed in the game, keeping the Bucs competitive.
Griffin led the Bucs with 21 points, followed by Joesbury with 17 points and Mays with 12 points.
The Bucs turned around a five-point first half deficit to defeat region opponent Westminster Christian 71-64 last Friday in Watkinsville. It was also in this game that Batrous scored 30 points as he passed the 1,000 career point mark.
"Where we were in the region, we really had to have it," Coach Tiller said. "It was a great road effort and a great road win."
Batrous, who needed 25 points to reach the 1,000 point mark, hit 10-of-11 free throws in the first half, which "helped keep us in the game."
"We really just hung in there and kept playing," Coach Tiller said.
With the help of defensive adjustments and a big defensive second half, the Bucs turned the game around in the second half. Down 34-39 at the half, the Bucs came out in the third quarter to outscore Westminster 17-11 and go up by one 51-50 at the end of the third. The Bucs continued to up their lead in the fourth, outscoring Westminster 20-14 for the 71-64 win.
A former Briarwood Buc, 6'3" Jeff Hansford who now lives in Watkinsville, was the key player for Westminster, scoring 21 points in the first half. Coach Tiller assigned seniors Griffin and Kyle Ewest to guard Hansford in the second half. The two held the high scoring player to only nine points in the second half.
Mays also played an outstanding game, according to Coach Tiller.
Batrous, who scored his 1,000th point midway through the fourth quarter, led the Bucs with 30 points, followed by Mays with 13 points, and Joesbury and Gerlach with nine points each.
Batrous was honored for his 1,000th point and contributions to Bucs' basketball at the beginning of the Monroe game Saturday at Briarwood.
The Bucs had little trouble with Monroe, defeating the Mustangs 40-30 for the second region win of the week.
Joesbury led the Bucs with 13 points, followed by Batrous with 12 points, and Price Chalker with eight points.
The Lady Bucs, still struggling, haven't fared as well in region play as the Bucs.
"We've dug ourselves a hole in the first half of region play," Coach Parrish said of the 1-5 Lady Bucs. "The biggest thing for us now is to not let our frustrations cost us another game. I feel pretty confident that our frustrations with the way we were shooting the ball caused us to lose some games."
The Lady Bucs started the second half of their region schedule Tuesday facing Brentwood in Sandersville.
"Our home stretch coming up will help, because we've played some tough teams on the road," Coach Parrish said.
The Lady Bucs couldn't overcome the Lady Gators, the number two-ranked team in GISA AA, last Friday, falling 42-55.
"They're a very, very good team," Coach Parrish said.
The Lady Gators hurt the Lady Bucs by putting pressure on the Lady Bucs as they were bringing the ball down the floor. Post Cassie Pickrell was the Lady Buc with the least pressure put on her and was forced to bring the ball down the floor for the Lady Bucs.
Pickrell and senior Courtney Price scored eight points each for the Lady Bucs. Junior Whitney Carani scored seven points.
The Lady Bucs claimed their only region win of the season 50-43 Friday at Westminster Christian in Watkinsville.
Foul shots continue to be a sore point for Coach Parrish, whose Lady Bucs hit only 18 of 34 from the free throw line.
Carani scored 18 points for the Lady Bucs, followed by Pickrell with 16 points.
The Lady Bucs lost their third region game of the week to Monroe by a bucket Saturday at Briarwood.
"This was another game of missed opportunities," Coach Parrish said of the 40-42 loss.
Pickrell led the Lady Bucs with 12 points.
The Briarwood teams were scheduled to face Brentwood School in Sandersville Tuesday in their only region game this week. The Buccaneer teams will travel to Bellville on Saturday to face Pinewood Christian, who is not a region opponent.