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Bucs start strong, Lady Bucs falter in early season play

The Briarwood basketball teams will end their short run of games before Christmas holidays by traveling to Augusta Prep this Friday for games with the Cavaliers.

The Bucs are off to their best start in recent years with four wins and only one loss while the Lady Bucs have lost four and won only one.

The Runnin' Bucs avenged their only loss of the season when they handed Bulloch Academy a 42-31 defeat Monday in Statesboro.

"It was a real defensive battle," Coach Christian Tiller said. "When you play great defense, you hold people down in the 30s. We played great defense. We were fortunate to have more points at the end when the buzzer went off."

The Bucs were down by two, 5-7, at the end of the first quarter and then turned the momentum on Bulloch in the second quarter, outscoring the Gators 13-6 to take an 18-13 halftime lead and then maintain that lead until the buzzer sounded.

Buc junior Dave Joesbury got into foul trouble in the first quarter and had to come out of the game.

"Kyle Ewest came in and gave a great effort. He really played well," Coach Tiller said.

Senior Davis Griffin led the Bucs with 12 points. Five other Bucs - Joesbury, Ewest, Seth Williford, Joseph Batrous and Ryan Gerlach - scored six points each.

The Bucs scored a decisive 56-31 win over Edmund Burke Academy Tuesday, Dec. 5, in Waynesboro.

"We really needed a game where we could score," Coach Tiller commented, adding that most of the Bucs' saw some "needed" playing time. "Good teams go into games they're supposed to win and take care of business, and we did. I'm not saying that we're a good team yet, but we're close. Our zone (defense) was really good."

The Bucs also welcomed senior Davis Griffin and junior Hughlon Mays back into the lineup. Both were starters last year. Griffin started at close to 100 perecnt, but Mays, who suffered a severe shoulder injury during football, saw limited playing time

"Hughlon did come in and score a put back," Coach Tiller noted.

Senior Batrous led the scoring with 13, followed by Williford and Joesbury with 12 points each.

Batrous scored 13 points while playing in only one quarter of the Bucs 64-39 win over Thomas Jefferson Academy last Thursday in Milledgeville.

"We knew going into the game that we were going to have a little bit of an advantage; they had just finished playing football and had only had one practice," Coach Tiller said.

All of the Bucs gained playing time in the game.

"Overall, we played pretty well, but we did get some bad news," Coach Tiller said. "David Russell (senior starter who has yet to play) won't be joining us until January."

Russell is another player who was injured during football season.

Joesbury led the scoring with 16 points, including two three-pointers, while Griffin scored 12 points. The Bucs hit eight three-pointers in the game. Batrous also hit two three-pointers.

Lady Bucs

The Lady Bucs, who have gotten off to their worst start in recent memory, lost their fifth game of the season, a rematch, to Bulloch Academy by only two points, 40-42, Monday evening in Statesboro.

"We better get it going pretty quick," said Coach Clayton Parrish, whose Lady Bucs are now 1-4 in the young season. "We had a number of opportunities to win that game. The score was 42-40 for the last minute of the game. We had three opportunities to tie the ball game, and the ball just didn't go in the basket."

He said the Lady Bucs were doomed by free throw shooting, turnovers and poor decisions.

"Credit goes to Bulloch because they pressured us out of our style of play," he said. "We did have people in the proper position to break the press, but we just couldn't get them the ball. We'd throw it out of bounds."

The Lady Bucs free throw shooting percentage dropped in the Bulloch game with the Lady Bucs hitting only two of eight free throws in the fourth quarter. Junior Cassie Pickrell, who led the scoring with 15 points, hit seven of eight from the free throw line. Her teammates hit only three of 14 free shots, dropping the Lady Bucs free throw shooting average for the season to below 50 percent.

The Lady Bucs dropped a 32-47 decision to Edmund Burke Academy in Waynesboro. Turnovers and a "sloppy" third quarter where the Lady Bucs were outscored 23-4 were the differences in the game, according to Coach Parrish.

"It was just a pretty bad game all the way around," he said. "We were 14 of 63 from the floor. We did get 23 offensive rebounds, but we couldn't convert."

The Lady Bucs had 30 turnovers in the game, mainly attributable to "poor passing," according to Coach Parrish, who said you can't win a game with 30 turnovers.

Pickrell, with 14 points, was the only Lady Buc scoring in double figures.

Senior Olivia Lyons scored eight points for the Lady Bucs.

The Lady Bucs put one in the win column last Thursday with a 50-29 victory over Thomas Jefferson.

"We changed our style of play," Coach Parrish said. "We played a little bit more up tempo, aggressive defensively. We played a little bit more conservatively on offensive, trying to limit our turnovers."

The Lady Bucs did limit their turnovers, cutting the total from a high of 30 turnovers against EBA to 17 turnovers committed against Thomas Jefferson.

"That was very important to our success," Coach Parrish said.

Again, Pickrell led the Lady Bucs with 16 points, followed by junior Whitney Carani with eight points, senior Courtney Price with seven points, and senior Ali Dyson and freshman Brittini Phelps with six points each.

Web posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006

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