A region championship was in their grasps, but during the waning seconds, it was squandered. It boiled down to a pair of turnovers and a few key free-throws that spoiled such an opportunity for the Briarwood Academy Buccaneers to be the 2010 Region 1-A basketball champions.
The end result: Thomas Jefferson Academy's Jaguars won the title 54-51 at the Briarwood gym on Monday night.
"Our kids played hard the entire game," said Briarwood head coach Bo Fleming. "It just didn't fall our way. We have nothing to be ashamed about. We've come a long way in two years."
The Buccaneers ended up laying claim to the Region 1-A Runners-Up trophy and honor in a special ceremony that followed. The trophy was presented to Trey Stadler, one of the senior stars of the basketball team by Briarwood boys' assistant coach Clayton Parrish.
During the special ceremony, All-Region players from the Region 1-A five-teams represented at the tournament were announced. They included Briarwood's Trey Stadler, Thomas Lynam, Steven Gunn and Dalton Reese.
"It's pretty special to have four players make the All-Region Team," said coach Fleming. "That's a real honor and I'm very proud of all four of them."
The Bucs are playing Fullerton Academy in the first-round of the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class A State Basketball Tournament tonight (Thursday) at Andrews College in Cuthbert -- about a five-hour drive from Briarwood Academy. Coverage of the state tournament will be included in a story in next week's edition of The McDuffie Mirror .
Reese led the Buccaneers in scoring with 16 points -- the only player to score in double-figures in a losing effort. Other Briarwood players scoring in the region title game included: Stadler, 9, Lynam, 6, Tyler Daniel, 6, Gunn, 6, Ryan Nelson, 5 and Carson Wiley, 3 points.
The Bucs fell behind 46-45 with about two minutes left in the game. But then Lynam, who played an impressive game, tied the game at 46-46, connecting on one of two free-throws.
With 51 seconds remaining, Thomas Jefferson went reclaimed the lead, 48-46. The Bucs had a chance to tie the game again, but with 22 seconds left, a miscue of the ball by a Briarwood player led to the Jags getting it right back and scoring another basket that put them up 50-46.