The Briarwood Academy basketball teams had mixed results in their first games of the new season with the Lady Bucs providing the thrills with a last minute come-from-behind victory over Augusta Prep last week in the first game of the season for the Bucs and the Lady Bucs at Briarwood.
The Lady Bucs ended their first week of play with a victory over Augusta Prep and a loss to Bulloch. The Bucs are looking for their first win in basketball action this week.
Down by as much as 14 points at one point and down by four with only 1:20 seconds left in the game, the Lady Bucs went an 11-point scoring spree for a 53-46 win.
"That shows the character of this team. They will not give up," Coach Clayton Parrish said. "It can be hard to tell what the team will be like this early in the season, but I really like the direction we're headed in. It was a good win for us, especially for a first game. Augusta Prep had already played four games and were 3-1, and they're a AAA team."
The Lady Cavaliers outscored the Lady Bucs by five, 11-6 in the first quarter, and then added another five, 14-9, in the second for a 10-point halftime lead, 25-15. The Lady Bucs came back after the half and took control of the game, making up eight points of their 10-point deficit to close to within two points of the Lady Cavaliers, 29-31, at the end of the third.
It was in the fourth quarter when the Lady Bucs really demonstrated their abilities, outscoring the Lady Cavaliers by nine points with 11 of those points coming in the final 1:20 seconds of the game.
Fatigue played a factor in the Lady Cavaliers fourth quarter performance, according to Coach Parrish, who added that the Augusta Prep team also "hit the panic button a little."
"We did a good job of taking advantage of it," he said. "Augusta Prep had four turnovers in the last minute of the game, and we converted all of them."
Senior Whitney Carani accounted for two of the four turnovers and five of the points, while freshman Maria Johnson hit two critical free throws at the "tail end" of the game of the game to increase the Lady Bucs lead from three points to five points.
Not only did the Lady Bucs get off to a slow start against the Lady Cavaliers, they also ended up in four trouble early. Three starters picked up two fouls early in the first half, but the Lady Bucs showed their depth with seniors Joy Dudley and Brook Wiley and freshman Maggie Keene coming into the game to take up the slack.
"They did a good job. We've got more depth than we had last year," Coach Parrish said.
The Lady Bucs ended the game with three of their starters having four fouls each.
Carani, one of two starters returning from last year's team, was the Lady Bucs leading scorer with 19 points, including two three-pointers. The team's other starter, senior Cassie Pickrell, added eight points to the tally, as did junior starter Brittini Phelps. Johnson scored seven points.
Johnson was the only bright spot in a dismal performance at the free throw line, hitting three of her four free shots. As a team, the Lady Bucs hit only 7-of-18 free throws.
The Lady Bucs continued their dismal performance from the free throw line, hitting only 10 of 32 free shots, in a 43-28 loss to Bulloch Academy last Thursday in Statesboro.
Still, Coach Parrish was not disappointed in his team's play.
"It was a close ball game to the end," he said. "Even though it's a loss, I'm not discouraged, because we played at a high level. "If we continue to play at that level, I think the missed free throws and the missed scoring opportunities will take care of themselves."
The Lady Bucs took a slim 9-8 lead over Bulloch in the first quarter and then dropped that one point as the score was reversed in the second with Bulloch outscoring the Lady Bucs 8-9 for a 17-17 tie at the half.
Bulloch came back to outscore the Lady Bucs 5-12 in the third quarter and 6-14 in the fourth quarter for the 43-28 win.
"Bulloch is a good team. There's no doubt about it," Coach Parrish said, adding that Bulloch had defeated their two previous opponents by an average of 37 points per game.
"And, it was a good game for us to play," he continued. "Both teams put a lot of pressure on the ball. Both teams moved the ball up and down the court very quickly. Both teams had a lot of missed opportunities (to score)."
The Runnin' Bucs, half of whose players just recently joined the team from football as opposed to Augusta Prep who doesn't have a football team and had five games under its belt, didn't fare as well in their season opener.
"It was the first game, and everybody was still playing football," Coach Christian Tiller said. "You could tell we'd only had six practices."
The Bucs got behind in the first quarter when Augusta Prep went on a 19-point scoring run before the Bucs even got on the board.
"It's tough when you give someone a 19-point head start," Coach Tiller said.
With the Bucs down 19-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Cavaliers outscored the Bucs 17-8 in the second for a 36-8 halftime lead. The Bucs came out flat in the third quarter, and the Cavaliers went on to win the game 59-36.
Buc senior Dave Joesbury led the team with 16 points including two three-pointers, ten rebounds and seven blocked shots. Sophomore Price Chalker added two three-pointers for six points for the Bucs.
"We've got a long way to go, but we played better on Thursday night," Coach Tiller said of the Bucs' contest with Bulloch Academy, the number four ranked team in GISA AA.
"We played well, nothing spectacular, but we're making steady progress," he said. "We were a better team against them than we were against Augusta Prep."
The Bucs played Bulloch to a 10-10 tie at the end of the first quarter, but Bulloch pulled away in second, outscoring the Bucs by nine points to take a 32-23 halftime lead. The Bucs played the Gators almost even in the third, scoring nine points to the Gators' ten. Down 42-32 at the end of the third, the Gators took advantage of their depth to outscore the Bucs 23-12 in the fourth for a 65-44 win.
"They're good, they're really good," Coach Tiller said of Bulloch. "They have 10 players who can play basketball."
Buc junior Ryan Gerlach turned in a career game offensively, hitting five 3-pointers and then adding a two-pointer for 17points for the Bucs. Senior Hughlon Mays adding 13 points with nine of his 13 points coming from the free throw line.
Sophomore post Trey Stadler, who is 6'1" and "getting taller every day," grabbed eight rebounds for the Bucs for the second game in a row.
Briarwood will play host to Thomas Jefferson Academy on Thursday, Dec. 6. The C-team girls will play at 4 p.m., followed by the C-team boys at 5 p.m. The Lady Bucs are scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Bucs at 8 p.m.
Briarwood will have its first return matches when Curtis Baptist School comes to Briarwood on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The B-team boys play at 4:30 pm, followed by the Lady Bucs at 6 p.m. and the Bucs at 7:30 p.m.