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Brookwood girls off to good start

LAWRENCEVILLE — The Brookwood girls made the state tournament five of the past six years, but the Broncos haven’t won a region title since 1993.

With four starters back from a 21-win team, could this be the season?

Asked if this was the best team he’s had in his 10 seasons as coach, Scott Terry offered a hesitant smile.

“It has the potential,” Terry said. “But it’s a long season and we have a long way to go.”

Brookwood (4-0) opened Region 8-AAAAA play with a 73-63 victory at Central Gwinnett, but the Black Knights (1-3) gave the Broncos a scare Thursday night.

Ahead 40-28 at halftime, Brookwood saw Central tie the game at 63 with about two minutes left. Then the Broncos’ experience showed.

Four-year starters Jazmine Jackson and Katie Mallow took control, and 6-foot-2 sophomore Rebecca Walker stepped out to hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer as Brookwood pulled away.

The Broncos showed their depth as eight players scored and four reached double figures. Jackson had 18 points along with six assists.

Walker scored 17, Mallow had 12 points after a slow start, Courtney Gardner scored 10 and Autumn Adams had eight points and eight rebounds.

Brookwood shot 34 free throws to 17 for Central and the difference was especially telling in the first half, when the Broncos were 12-for-18 from the line and Central 3-for-5.

But the fouls were nearly even in the second half, and the Black Knights stormed back. Senior sharpshooter Bri Hampton hit four 3-pointers in the game and had 19 points to lead all scorers. Nia Hardy scored 13 points for Central and had a game-best 12 rebounds.

Caryn Ivey and Lexus Travis each fouled out with eight points, and Ivey had five assists. Shantaja Latimore had eight points and nine rebounds.

“Central has a good team,” Terry Smith. “They gave us a battle. But we have a lot of three and four-year players. That experience helps.”