After getting off to a sluggish start this basketball season, the Buccaneers of Briarwood Academy are showing signs of drastic improvement. And as a result, they are winning important Region 1-A games.
This past week was their most successful stretch this season, as they won two big region games -- the first one on Tuesday, Jan. 12 over John Hancock Academy of Sparta and the other one on Friday, Jan. 15 over David Emanuel Academy of Swainsboro. Briarwood defeated the John Hancock Rebels 45-26, while topping the DEA Eagles 52-35.
The Bucs dropped a 60-44 game to the Brentwood School Eagles on Monday, Jan. 11.
Briarwood held a perfect 3-0 record in region play after last week's games.
The Bucs were confronted with another big test on Tuesday night of this week when they traveled to Louisville to take on the Thomas Jefferson Academy Jaguars. Because of press deadlines, the results of that game and this weekend's games will be covered in next week's edition.
"Finally, we're starting to play decent basketball and winning some games," said Briarwood Academy head coach Bo Fleming. "We've just got to continue to play good defense."
Fleming said it was "great" having senior Trey Stadler back after being injured the entire first half of the season.
"He's really starting to come on and help us," Fleming said.
Another key player, Carson Wiley, also a senior, recently received an arm injury and wasn't able to play last week. Wiley is expected to return to action soon.
Two other players also were praised by the head coach -- Dalton Reese Steven Gunn.
"Dalton can do it all," Fleming said. "He's naturally talented. Steven, on the other hand, brings so much energy to this team. He gives it all he's got. He is very valuable as a player. We couldn't win without him."
In the game against John Hancock, the Bucs had no problems, whatsoever.
Reese led the Bucs with 16 points against the Rebels. The only other player in double-figures was Gunn with 11 points.
Against Brentwood the night before, Briarwood's Reese again led the Bucs in the scoring department with 12 points. Nine other players also scored in the game for Briarwood.
In the game against David Emanuel, Reese pumped in 19 points to lead his team to victory. He also connected on four three-point shots. Stadler, meanwhile, tossed in 10 points.
Gunn displayed abilities to hit from long range with two such baskets early in the second period of the game against David Emanuel, which gave the Bucs a 16-15 lead with 4:07 left in the first half. Reese later hit a three-pointer and suddenly the Bucs started pulling away from the Eagles.
Briarwood led 36-24 going into the fourth and final period of play. A host of reserve players were called upon to play the last three minutes of the game.