The Briarwood Academy Runnin Bucs had a tumultuous weekend of basketball play as they dropped to fourth in the region standings with a 59-53 overtime loss to Gatewood School in Eatonton that saw senior team leader Josh Gardner suffer a traumatic injury as the second half of play got underway.
The Lady Bucs continued to improve with wins over Gatewood on Friday and John Hancock Academy of Sparta, on Saturday. The Bucs, minus Gardner, also defeated John Hancock Saturday at Briarwood.
Briarwood's Burt Goolsby drives for a basket.
The two teams will complete their regular season schedule this Friday night, traveling to Siloam to face Nathanael Greene Academy. The girls B-team game will begin at 4:30 p.m., followed by the girls varsity at 6 p.m. and the boys varsity at 7:30 p.m.
The Briarwood teams will have only a few days to prepare for the Region 1AA tournament, which will begin next Tuesday, Feb. 10, at John Hancock Academy in Sparta. Finals will be played on Friday, Feb. 13.
The Lady Bucs have improved and grown stronger as the season has progressed. With a 10-4 record in region play, the Lady Bucs dropped two of their four games to the top seeded Brentwood Schools girls. They lost one to Nathanael Green Academy and the other to John Hancock Academy, both early in the season. The Lady Bucs avenged their loss to the Lady Rebels last Saturday and have an opportunity to avenge the loss to Nat Greene on Friday. A win over Nat Greene will lock in a tie for second place seed in the region for the Lady Bucs. If there is a tie, a coin toss will determine the second place seed, according to Coach Clayton Parrish.
Currently, the Bucs are in fourth place in the Region 1AA play behind the number one seed, the undefeated reigning AA state champs of Brentwood of Sandersville. Curtis Baptist School of Augusta, is in second place with two losses to Brentwood School. Gatewood's win over Briarwood on Friday earned the Gators the third place seed, dropping the Bucs to fourth. Presently, the Bucs have five region losses to Gatewood's four.
Seemingly, a black cloud has lurked over the hard-playing Bucs this season. Already missing three-year starter Brandon Norman, Gardner's playing status is questionable.
"It was the worst fall I've ever seen a player take in a basketball game," Coach Parrish said. "It was a freak accident. He went in for a lay up and got his leg caught on a player's back. He fell hard and landed on his head and didn't have time to catch himself with his arms."
Playing without Gardner, who is out for an undetermined period of time, the Bucs came back on Saturday and defeated John Hancock 61-40.
"I was a little worried after such a bad loss the night before about them coming out a little sluggish, and we did, but we made a few adjustments at halftime and the guys just got it going," Coach Parrish said.