The Briarwood Academy Lady Bucs advanced to the Final Four of the GISA Class A state basketball tournament with convincing wins in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight single elimination rounds this past week.
The Lady Bucs will face Fullington Academy of Pinehurst at 1 p.m. this Thursday, Feb. 26, at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville in the quarterfinals.
It's the Lady Bucs first appearance in the quarterfinals since 2005, according to Coach Clayton Parrish, who added that the Region 1 Lady Bucs are the only team in the tournament not from powerful Region 3, whose top three teams make up the remaining three teams in the Final Four.
Fullington, who finished in the number one spot in the Region 3 region tournament, went into the finals ranked number two in Region 3 before knocking off top-ranked Terrell Academy of Dawson.
"They're a very good team," Parrish says. "They've got good balance inside and outside. They're a lot bigger than we are. They have a couple of girls inside who are pushing six feet, but we've had to deal all year with being outsized. We're going to have to shoot the ball well from the perimeter."
Shooting the ball well is what the Lady Bucs have done in the previous two playoff games, along with playing outstanding defensively.
The Lady Bucs outscored Georgia Christian Academy of Valdosta, Region 2's number one team, 16-4 in the third quarter on their way to a 45-33 win in the Elite Eight (quarterfinals) of the Class A playoffs last Friday, February 20, at Andrew College in Cuthbert.
"We played really well," Coach Parrish said of the Lady Bucs' performance in that game. "We didn't make as many mistakes, and we made the right decision against the zone and got good high percentage shots.
"The biggest factor in the game was the third quarter when we outscored them (Georgia Christian) 16-4, and we did that with starters Brittini Phelps and Maggie Keene on the bench in foul trouble."
Sophomore Morgan Reese came off the bench in the third to score five points for the Lady Bucs, while starter Maria Johnson hit a pair of three-pointers for six points.
Johnson and Phelps led the Lady Bucs with 11 points each, followed by Nutial with 10 points.
The Lady Bucs had an even easier time dispatching Monroe Academy of Forsyth, 56-23, in the Sweet 16 round, which was held on Monroe's home court on Wednesday, February 18.
Johnson led the Lady Bucs with 14 points, followed by Phelps and Keene with 11 points each.
"Maggie Keene did a great job at post. It was one of her better rebounding games," Coach Parrish said. "It was a good win for us - to bounce back after having such a poor performance in the region championship game."