This past weekend wasn't a good one for the Briarwood Academy Buccaneers. The reason: they lost back-to-back basketball games to Curtis Baptist on Saturday and to Thomas Jefferson Academy the night before.
In Saturday's game against the Crusaders, the Bucs lost 61-47. Last Friday night, Briarwood dropped a close one to the visiting Thomas Jefferson Academy Jaguars of Louisville. The final score was 58-55.
Curtis Baptist set the pace right from the start, scoring the first two baskets before Briarwood's Ryan Nelson hit a one of two free-throws to put the Bucs on the scoreboard. Trey Stadler, the Bucs' junior center, later hit the next two field goals to keep the game close, 12-5 with 2:36 to play in the first period.
Early in the second period, Nelson made a nice pass to Stadler on the inside, made the basket and was fouled in the process. Stadler went on to sink the free-throw, making it a 14-12 game with 6:17 left in first half action. The game became tied at 16-16 when Briarwood senior point guard Ryan Gerlach hit a pair of free-throws at the 3:40 mark.
It seemed that every time the Bucs tried to establish a lead, the Crusaders were there to shut them down, defensively. By halftime, Curtis Baptist clung to a five-point lead, 24-19.
Early in the third period, the Crusaders struck for another field goal to go by seven before Briarwood senior Price Chalker knocked down a three-point basket to cut the Curtis Baptist lead to 26-22. Chalker, who was red-hot with his three-point shooting abilities over the weekend, hit another such shot to make it a 28-25 game with 4:48 left in the third period.
The Buccaneers claimed a 36-34 lead for a brief period - thanks in part to Chalker hitting another shot from long range and a feed pass from Gerlach to Stadler. At the end of the period, the game was knotted 38-38.
Chalker broke free quickly in the fourth and scored a field goal, which the Bucs a 40-38 lead. As quickly as the Bucs had found a way to lead the game, they soon found themselves trailing again by seven points, 47-40.
Despite their efforts to mount a come back, the Bucs were never able to get closer than that during the fourth period. The Crusaders ended up outscoring the Bucs 23-9 during the last eight minutes of the game.
Chalker led the Bucs in scoring with 20 points. He was followed by Stadler with 15, Gerlach, 6, Nelson, 2, Thomas Lyman, 2 and Matthew McElveen, 2 points, respectively.
In the game against Thomas Jefferson Academy, Chalker, again, was the leading scorer for the Bucs. He hit an amazing 10 three-point baskets in that game for 30 points. Stadler added 12, Gerlach, 9, Carson Wiley, 3 and Nelson 1 point, respectively.
Briarwood plays host to Piedmont Academy on Friday night and travels to Eatonton to take on Gatewood Academy's Gators in the regular season finale on Saturday.