The Briarwood "B" team Runnin' Bucs provided the excitement in basketball action last week with a three-pointer swishing through the goal as the final buzzer sounded for a 45-42 win over Gatewood School last Friday at Briarwood.
Down by five points at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the "B" team tied the game with seconds left on the clock. With the score at 42-42 and four seconds left on the clock, a "B" Gator missed the first foul shot of a one-and-one. The Bucs rebounded and threw to freshman Ryan Pritchett at half-court. Pritchett dribbled to the three-point line and launched the winning shot, a three-pointer, as time expired.
"We started off slow, but played really well as a team," said Coach Bo Fleming, adding that it was the "B" Bucs balanced scoring attack that was the key to the win.
Freshman Dalton Reese led the scoring with 10 points, followed by Pritchett and sophomores Ryan Nelson and Blake Sowell with nine points each and freshman Tyler Daniel with eight points.
The varsity teams didn't fare as well in basketball action last week with both the girls and boys failing to win in contests with Augusta Prep of Augusta and Gatewood School of Eatonton.
"Our schedule before Christmas is tough," Coach Fleming said of the Briarwood teams' pre-region competition, which is composed mainly of teams playing in higher classifications than the Bucs' Class A. Both Augusta Prep and Gatewood compete in GISA AAA.
"These are non-region games," he continued. "Our goal is to get better every week, and the tough competition will help us out in the long run. We're learning to play better as a team before we start our region (GISA Region 1-A) schedule after Christmas."
The Lady Bucs made a big fourth quarter comeback against Augusta Prep, outscoring Lady Cavaliers by seven points in the fourth only to lose the game by one point, 34-35.
"The desire that I saw to win the ball game in the fourth quarter showed me that the girls are going to be alright this season," Coach Clayton Parrish said. "We played a lot more aggressively and fought extremely hard in the fourth quarter. I feel like we wanted to win the ball game more than they did. We just came up a little bit short."
The Lady Bucs were outscored by Prep 8-4 in the first quarter and 11-7 in the second quarter, leaving them down by eight, 19-11, at the half. The girls came back in third quarter to match the Lady Cavaliers in scoring, 11-11, and then outscored them in the fourth to put themselves in a position to win the game.
Coach Parrish attributed the Lady Bucs poor start in the game to not only not playing their best after coming off the Thanksgiving holiday, but, also, being able to practice only 45 minutes in their only after-holiday practice before hosting Prep.
"Overall, I was very pleased with the effort, and the fight to get back in the ball game," Coach Parrish said. "We could have easily written it off and ended up losing by 15 points.
Junior Brittini Phelps and sophomore Maria Johnson led the Lady Bucs with each scoring 10 points for their team.
The Bucs didn't fare as well against Preps as the Lady Bucs, losing 66-27.
"Offensively, we didn't play ball at all," Coach Fleming said. "If we had hit our shots, it would have been an entirely different ball game. We played really well defensively. To hold Augusta Prep to 11 points in the first quarter speaks volumes."
The Cavaliers outscored the Bucs 11-4 in the first quarter, 23-9 in the second, 14-5 in the third and 18-9 in the fourth quarter.
Senior Ryan Gerlach led the Bucs with 17 points.
Senior Price Chalker was the bright spot in the Bucs' 66-42 loss to the Gatewood Gators last Friday at Briarwood. Chalker hit five 3-pointers on his way to scoring 21 points for his team.
Junior Trey Stadler scored 11 points and snagged 15 rebounds for the Bucs.
The Bucs got off to an even slower start against Gatewood, scoring seven points to the Gators' 20.
"Once again, we played well in the second and third quarters, just as in the Prep game. The first quarter just got away from us," Coach Fleming said. "We have just got to get off to a better start."
The Lady Bucs, playing the game with only eight players due to team members participating in the state competition cheerleading meet, couldn't keep up with the Lady Gators in a 55-31 loss.
The Lady Bucs "played hard" and kept the game close until late in the second quarter when, with the score at 21-16 and 2 ½ minutes left before the half, the Lady Bucs went dry. The Lady Bucs didn't score again until four minutes into the third quarter with the score at 40-16.
"It was slow and agonizing," Coach Parrish said of the seven-minute scoring drought. "I think fatigue played a part. We only had six girls who played the first three quarters. I let the two younger players play the fourth quarter just to get them some experience."
Phelps led the Lady Bucs with 16 points.
The Briarwood varsity teams will be participating in the Edmund Burke Academy Christmas tournament this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12-13, in Waynesboro. The Lady Bucs will face EBA at 7 p.m. Friday and Augusta Prep at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Runnin' Bucs will face EBA at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Augusta Prep at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.