The Briarwood Academy varsity basketball squads ended their seasons on a frustrating note with both losing in the first round of the GISA AA Sweet 16 playoffs last week at Middle Georgia College in Cochran.
"It was the same story both nights. Poor shooting was the bottom line," said Coach Clayton Parrish, who watched helplessly from the sidelines as the ball refused to fall in during the Lady Bucs' 40-25 loss to Crisp Academy of Cordele on Wednesday and the Bucs 45-36 loss to Brookwood Academy of Thomasville on the following night.
Brandon Young swings at a pitch during a game for Gordon College.
Only a few weeks ago, it was questionable whether senior Josh Gardner would ever play for the Bucs again due to a traumatic head injury suffered in a game against Gatewood School of Eatonton on Jan. 30.
But, last week, he was one of the few positives in the two games that show how both the Bucs and the Lady Bucs have had perhaps their poorest shooting games of the season. After only a week back, Gardner played to his potential, scoring 21 of the Bucs' 36 points.
Otherwise, it was a dismal scoring night, with the Bucs hitting only four of 23 shots from the free throw line.Despite the Bucs' poor shooting, they led at one point in the fourth quarter before an unanswered Brookwood scoring run.
Defensively, the Bucs played an excellent game, rebounding the ball particularly well.Junior Al Dudley had a career high 13 rebounds for the Bucs and scored six points.
"It was frustrating for both teams," Coach Parrish said. "We both played teams we were capable of beating. We just couldn't put the ball in the basket."
On Wednesday night, Crisp Academy shut down the Lady Bucs' main scoring threat, junior Anne Wills, by running a box plus one defense -- having one player guard Wills man-to-man while the remaining four ran a zone defense.Wills was able to get off only three shots in the first half, one as the buzzer sounded for the end of the half.
"They did a good job taking Anne out of the game and taking away our inside game, giving us the outside shots," Coach Parrish said. "If we could just have made a few (outside) shots, I believe we could have made them extend their defense, and we'd have been okay."
The Lady Bucs, who have several players who normally hit three-pointers during a game, were 0-for-1 from the three-point-line the first half and 1-for-20 for the game.
Overall, the Lady Bucs hit only four of 26 baskets attempted during the first half.
However, in the first three minutes of the third quarter, the tide turned as the Lady Bucs went on a nine-point scoring run to gain a one-point lead. They failed to score again the remainder of the quarter and ultimately ended their season with the 40-25 loss.Wills led the Lady Bucs with 12 points, followed by senior Miriam Thrift with five points.