LAWRENCEVILLE — In the first region game of his second season, Daniel Bowles got his most significant victory as Brookwood boys coach.
“It’s big,” Bowles said. “Very big.”
The visiting Broncos, 0-3 coming into Region 8-AAAAA play, upset No. 7-ranked Central Gwinnett 55-53 on Thursday night as sophomore Malcolm Hannah led the way.
Hannah scored eight of his game-high 23 points down the stretch as Brookwood stunned the Black Knights, who reached the Class AAAAA Final Four last season and were 2-0 this season.
Things didn’t start well for Central, with Slim Delbridge given a technical foul for dunking in warm-ups. The Black Knights, though, seemed in control most of the way, holding slim leads until the fourth quarter.
But after E-Man Westmoreland hit back-to-back 3-pointers for Central, Hannah hit his third 3-pointer of the game to put Brookwood up midway in the fourth and then added a pair of free throws. Two more from the line by Hannah made it 53-48 with 2:19 to play after a basket by Chad Porterfield and the Broncos were able to hold on.
Hannah was 1-for-2 from the line with 9.5 seconds left and the Broncos avoided overtime when Brian Egejuru missed from the lane on a drive in heavy traffic in the final seconds.
Thomas Higginbotham, Brookwood’s senior leader, and sophomore Alex Drag each had 11 points.
Westmoreland scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers, and Simeon Dennis added 11 points.
Brookwood was 9-17 in Bowles’ first season back at the school where he played following a coaching stint at South Cobb and dropped three warm-up games before entering region play.
“But those games helped us get ready,” Bowles said. “We knew we needed to play some good teams to be ready for a team like Central.”
The Black Knights have no returning starters from last season’s 29-3 team, but they still have plenty of talent if not a lot of experience.
“The players bought into what we told them and really played hard,” Bowles said.
The game was moved up a night because Brookwood is playing Collins Hill in the Class AAAAA football semifinals tonight. Several players will eventually join the basketball team.
“Without the football players, we’re only about eight deep,” Bowles said. “But we got a great effort out of everyone. It’s definitely a big win when you beat a team like Central.”
Grayson 75, Walnut Grove 54
LOGANVILLE — Kenny Lockett scored 27 points to keep Grayson unbeaten (2-0) with a 75-54 win over Walnut Grove.
Marquise Lanier scored 11 points for the Rams.