For the third time in four years, the Briarwood Academy Lady Buccaneers are in the GISA Class AA Final Four Basketball Tournament in search of an elusive first state championship.
Coach Clayton Parrish's Lady Bucs, ranked No. 2 in the state with a 25-0 record, will play the No. 1 ranked and undefeated Pinewood Lady Patriots today at 5:30 p.m. at the Georgia College Athletic Complex in Milledgeville in the Class AA semi-finals.
If Briarwood should defeat Pinewood, then the state championship game will be played Saturday, Feb. 26, at 3:20 p.m. at Georgia College against the winner of the Trinity-Gatewood game.
Briarwood Academy earned its way into the Final Four by defeating two teams last week in the opening rounds of the state tournament at two different sites.
On Feb. 16 at Brentwood Academy in Sandersville, the Lady Bucs defeated the Frederica Lady Knights 57-47 in the Sweet Sixteen round of the state tournament. This win was the 24th of the year for Briarwood.
Senior Anne Wills was the leading scorer for the Lady Bucs with 23 points. She was followed by Ashley Pickard with 13, Katie Reese and Alyssa Sutton with six each, Mallory Jo Bradshaw with three, and Courtney Price, Cassie Pickrell and Beth Gerlach with two each.
In special stats, Wills recorded four 3-point shots, while Price went two for two at the free throw line.
In the Elite Eight round played at Middle Georgia College in Cochran on Feb. 18, Briarwood eliminated Heritage Academy by a 60-35 score. Heritage entered the game with a 19-5 record.
The Lady Bucs, behind the 24-point performance of Wills, broke the game wide open in the fourth period by outscoring Heritage 23-5.
Following Wills in the scoring column were Reese with seven points, Bradshaw and Pickrell with six points each, Pickard with five points, and Sutton, Gerlach and Blythe Ansley with four points each.
This week's game with Pinewood is just another chapter in the long-time rivalry between the two schools. In 2003, the Lady Patriots defeated Briarwood for the Class AA State Championship in Milledgeville.
In boy's action for Briarwood Academy, the Runnin' Bucs were eliminated in their first round game on Thursday night, Feb. 17 in Sandersville by the undefeated and No. 1 ranked Patriots of Pinewood Academy by a 68-49 score.
Al Dudley led the Bucs in their losing cause with 19 points. He was followed by Seth Williford with 11 points and Burt Goolsby with 10 points.