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Briarwood kicks off basketball season

The 2007-08 basketball season opened for Briarwood Academy Tuesday evening with the "B" Lady Bucs and Runnin' Bucs and varsity Lady Bucs and Runnin' Bucs playing host to Augusta Prep.

Coach Christian Tiller said he's excited about the coming season.

"I'm seeing things about this year's team - team wise - both offensively and defensively, and I'm really excited about it," he said. "Offensively, I can foresee where we could have five or six players score over 10 points in a game.

"It's going to be fun this year, a lot of fun," he continued. "We're a new team. It will be interesting to see what team we turn into."

Although past Buc teams have boasted much success with talented players, this year's team members have all of the ingredients for success in one team - experience, height, depth and numbers.

"We have eight who could start right now. I'm just looking for the right combination," Coach Tiller said.

Ten of the players began practice earlier in October and were joined recently by 10 more teammates who had been playing on the football team.

With six players over 6 feet, the team has height, and with three starters returning from last year's squad, the team has experience. Additionally, about five more players received extensive playing time last season.

The team has a strong group of seniors in forward Dave Joesbury, guard Hughlon Mays, guard John Spivey, and post Andrew Johnson.

Joesbury, at 6'6", is the team's tallest player and a three-year starter for Coach Tiller.

At 6'1", Hughlon Mays lends an element of "explosiveness" to the team.

"He's quick," Coach Tiller said of Mays. "He's really quick getting to the basket."

Spivey and Johnson both saw considerable action last season and will see even more this season, according to Coach Tiller.

The team has only two juniors - point guard Ryan Gerlach and guard Price Chalker, both talented players who received a great deal of playing time last year.

When the team's ball handling point guard and a leading scorer, Seth Williford, was injured last season, it was Gerlach who stepped onto the court fill the void, and he did it well, according to Coach Tiller.

"Ryan Gerlach is above and beyond, without a doubt, my most improved player," he said.

The team has seven sophomores and seven freshmen.

Sophomores Trey Stadler, Matthew McElveen and Carson Wiley played last year and will play even more this year, according to Coach Tiller.

Coach Tiller said he's expecting a much-improved player in the 6' 2" Stadler, who is both stronger and taller than he was last year.

Meanwhile, returning starters Whitney Carani and Cassie Pickrell will anchor this year's Lady Bucs. The two seniors were consistently the top scoring players on last year's squad.

Coach Clayton Parrish is also expecting support from the team's other three seniors - Macey Smith, Joy Dudley and Brooke Wiley. Smith, who underwent knee surgery for an injury suffered her sophomore year, is back at full strength.

The team's sole junior is Jamie Russell. The 14-players team is rounded out by sophomores Brittini Phelps, Lizzie Keen, Anna Goolsby, and Lindsey Burnley and freshmen Maria Johnson, Emily Henderson, Maggie Keene and Morgan Reese.

The Bucs and the Lady Bucs will face seven teams in 14 games in competition for this year's GISA Region 1AA title. In addition to Briarwood, the schools that make up Region 1AA are Brentwood School of Sandersville, Gatewood Schools of Eatonton, Monroe Academy of Forsyth, Westminster Christian Academy of Watkinsville, Windsor Academy of Macon, and Young Americans Christian Academy of Conyers.

Web posted on Thursday, November 29, 2007

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