Tyler Daniel and Ryan Pritchett combined to score 28 points to lead the Briarwood Academy Buccaneers to a 50-49 basketball victory over the visiting Gatewood Academy Gators of Eatonton on Friday.
It was the Buccaneers' first Region 1-AA win of the season. Overall, the Bucs are now 5-4 on the season. The game between Briarwood and Gatewood ended the first half of the basketball season.
The Briarwood team is enjoying the Christmas break before getting back into action on Tuesday, Jan. 4, when they entertain Piedmont Academy in another key region game. That same week, the Buccaneers will play two more region games -- Central Fellowship away on Friday, Jan. 7, and Covenant Academy at home on Saturday, Jan. 8.
"We overcame a slow start in the first half to come away with a huge win," Briarwood Academy head coach Bo Fleming said after the game.
The Buccaneers found themselves down by 13 points at one point in the first half.
"They never panicked," coach Fleming said. "Instead, we cut their lead down to just 2 points at halftime."
In the second half, Briarwood Academy's Taylor Coxwell came off the bench and provided the needed spark.
The first shot Coxwell made was a 3-pointer. He came right back down court a few seconds later and followed through with a put-back of a missed shot.
The game later became tied at 49-49.
Briarwood's Daniel later was fouled, which brought him to the free-throw line to attempt a one-and-one situation with just eight seconds remaining in regulation.
Daniel made the first shot but missed the second one. The Gators grabbed the rebound and moved the ball quickly down the court. An attempted jump shot missed at the buzzer.
"We handled their full-court pressure all night, and that was the key to our victory," coach Fleming said.
Another plus for the Buccaneers was the return of Colt Phelps to the hardwood. Phelps had been out with a foot injury.
"It was great to get Colt back on the court," coach Fleming said. "He was a big help to us in this win."
Phelps scored 5 points and yanked down 6 rebounds.
Coach Fleming said he appreciated the fan support his team received.
"Our crowd was awesome," he said. "They were loud and into the game the whole way. It really helped our kids."
Daniel finished the game with 17 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks and 5 steals. Teammate Pritchett scored 11 points and snatched down 4 rebounds; Dalton Reese scored 6 points and had 5 assists and 3 steals; Phelps, 5 points and 6 rebounds; and Coxwell, 5 points.