AMERICUS — A second half surge sparked Brookwood to the GISA Region 3-AAA title Friday. The Warriors defeated Tiftarea Academy 51-45, after trailing by 12 points at halftime.
The region championship was the first for Brookwood since 2008.
Denying Brookwood the ball inside and playing the passing lanes perfectly, they broke out of a 6-4 deficit and into an 18-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Noah Copeland scored again on a Dylan Harbort assist and when Bo Cunningham drove the lane at 5:01, it was 24-6.
“It wasn’t pretty,” said Brookwood coach Drew Giudice. “We were forcing some uncharacteristic plays, too much 1-on-1 stuff. Tiftarea did a great job defensively and controlled the tempo. I was proud of us for fighting out of that quicksand when you look up at the scoreboard and it says we’re down 6 to 24. We didn’t panic.”
Brookwood, which had last scored at 6:18 in the first, remained in a scoreless drought for nearly 11 minutes until Harrison Owens got them going again with a running shot.
Jacob Atkinson and Sam Barrett added a basket each later, slicing the deficit to 24-12. Now, it was Tiftarea’s time to struggle.
The Warriors scored the first nine points of the third period, J.P. Chapman’s 3-pointer at 5:40 meaning it was now a 24-21 Tiftarea lead.
Chapman hit from deep again and when Owens scored at 3:34, Brookwood was back in front. That started a see-saw battle between the teams.
A Copeland free shot tied it at 28-28 and Spence Massey gave the Panthers the lead back at 32-21 when he hit a jumper. There were two more ties in the frame before Jack Boltja put Brookwood in front 37-35.
Back-to-back steals by Massey and Cunningham narrowed a nine-point lead to five, 47-42, at 1:18. Twenty-two seconds later, a driving Dalton Jones’ three-point play closed it to 48-45.
But the Panthers lacked time. Though Brookwood only made half its remaining free throws, they were enough, as Tiftarea could not get any further shots to fall.
Owens led Brookwood with 17 points, with Chapman chipping in 13. Owensalso tallied eight rebounds