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Contrasting styles help Brookwood to sweep of East Coweta

SNELLVILLE -- Both Brookwood's boys and girls basketball teams lived up to the identity each has been trying to establish for itself during Thursday's opening round games of the 22nd annual Deep South Classic against visiting East Coweta at the school's Maroon Gymnasium.

First, the girls used their defense and the 1-2 scoring punch of Rebecca Walker and Courtney Garnder, who combined for 38 points as the Broncos romped to a 54-25 win.

Then, the boys turned to their deep stable of racehorses, led by 19 points from Khalil Abdullah and 17 points from Kendall Joseph, to race past the Indians 93-59.

The win places each Brookwood team into the second round to take on Creekview today, with the girls game tipping off at 6 p.m., followed by the boys game at 7:30.

Walker and Gardner each came through for Brookwood's girls (8-4), with the former turning in a huge game with 21 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and six steals, while the latter chipped in 17 points.

But it was defense that got the Broncos rolling in the early going of its game.

Brookwood forced East Coweta (1-6) into turnovers on its first seven possessions, and turned those miscues into 10 points, six of which came from Walker.

The Indians didn't manage a shot at the basket until more than halfway through the half, and didn't score until Quentina Roberts' baseline jumper with 2:16 left in the opening frame.

And that's all they would manage, thanks to the Broncos' stifling defense that forced East Coweta into nine of its 30 turnovers for the game in the first quarter in taking a 15-2 lead.

"That's the one thing we want to be able to hang our hats on," Brookwood coach Scott Terry said of his team's defensive effort. "We're still trying to rediscover ourselves, but we're headed in the right direction."

They stayed in the right direction, thanks to Walker, who hit a trio of free throws, a 3-pointer from the left corner and a layup off a feed from Gardner before returning the favor to cap a 10-1 run over the opening 3:32 of the second quarter to build a 20-point lead at 25-5.

East Coweta managed to cut the lead to 25-9 by the end of the first half, and then pulled as close as 25-10 after Eboni Williams' free throw 58 seconds into the third quarter.

But Walker hit a jumper, a stickback and a free throw, and Garnder added a pullup jumper over a 7-2 run to push the lead back to 20 points at 32-12, and East Coweta never got any closer than 18 points the rest of the way.

In addition to the big night from Walker and Garnder, Brookwood also got six points from Michaela Guffie, plus two points, three assists and two steals from Shelby Hunter.

It looked like the boys game would be considerably closer, after both Brookwood (10-2) and East Coweta (2-6) charged out of the gate hot, with the shootout first quarter ending tied at 21-apiece, with Abdullah going for 12 points to outduel Jeremy Farmer's 11.

However, the depth and conditioning of the Broncos' racehorse style of play began to take its toll on the visiting Indians.

"The way we play, we have to play a lot of kids," Brookwood boys coach Daniel Bowles said. "I told the guys at the end of the first quarter, 'They (East Coweta) made five 3-pointers. They can't keep that pace up. We've just got to get to their legs.'"

That they did, with Joseph and Chris Kinsey each striking for six points during a 19-4 run over the first 5:05 of the second quarter that gave the Broncos breathing room at 40-25.

In all, Brookwood outscored East Coweta 46-24 during the critical middle quarters to pull away for good.

And while Abdullah and Joseph were the only two players in double figures, the Broncos got production throughout the lineup, with 12 of the 14 players who took the floor scoring at least two points, including Austin Lewis with nine, Nate Rosetti with eight and Deion Dedeaux and Colin Cotter each chipping in seven. Cotter also dished out six assists, while Dedeaux handed out five.

Farmer led East Coweta with 13 points, but managed just two after the first quarter.