0

Broncos ride Gardner, Kurien to region win

SNELLVILLE -- Courtney Gardner, one of Brookwood's few veterans, gave the Broncos back a lead they had held most of the game just seconds into the fourth quarter.

Nija Kurien followed that with a lightning grab to steal the ball at midcourt and raced the opposite way for just a little bit of breathing room.

Central Gwinnett put up a good fight, but Brookwood never trailed again and won its Region 8-AAAAAA opener 58-54 on Tuesday night.

"It's good to get that first region win and when it's our home opener, it makes it even nicer," Brookwood head coach Scott Terry said. "(Coach) Jason (Adams) does a great job with those kids over at

Central and it's always a battle. This was no different.

"I'm really proud of our kids and their intensity, especially in the first half. Shelby Hunter coming off the bench and giving us some big minutes when we got some others in foul trouble. She was laying out and making some tremendous effort plays."

Both teams suffered from lapses throughout the game, leaving the door open for big swings on the scoreboard. Central had a sloppy start, falling behind 9-2, but made a push late in the first quarter to finish down just 14-12.

The Broncos (4-0, 1-0) answered with a big second quarter and led 30-19 at the half on a balanced attack. Rebecca Walker, Brookwood's other returning regular, had 13 of her team-high 18 points in the first half.

"We're a young team," Terry said. "We've really got just three kids with varsity experience. It's that learning process. A lot of unforced turnovers that did allow things to swing back and forth."

The Black Knights (3-2, 0-1) used a full-court press in the third quarter to disrupt the Broncos' breakout and got a tremendous boost on the inside from Carol Reynolds. The senior finished with a game-high 21 points, 17 in the second half, and helped Central close the gap.

Boxing out, Reynolds gave the Black Knights their first lead, 37-36, with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.

"Carol is a good player," Adams said. "She's worked hard to get back with the team after only playing half the season last year. To have an inside presence was something we haven't had for a while at Central and it really adds to what we try to do offensively."

But Brookwood's Lesley Holbrook was fouled by Reynolds right after that and her free throws restored the Broncos' lead going into the final eight minutes.

Lexus Travis got a sweet feed from Alexandra Frazier to put Central back ahead at the start of the fourth before Gardner went to work. The senior had eight points in the fourth quarter and finished with 12. Gardner and Walker were the only Broncos in double digits. Kurien and Holbrook each had eight.

"They've got probably two of the best players in our region," Adams said of Walker and Gardner.

Central stayed in striking distance down the stretch, getting as close as three points and never trailing by more than seven in the final three minutes.

"We didn't give up," Adams said. "I thought our kids overcame some tough calls and Brookwood is a good team.

"We didn't do a good job of controlling the boards and gave them too many second opportunities. You can't give that many opportunities to that team."

Central's Keisha Washington added 10 points and Frazier had nine.

BOYS

Brookwood 77, Central Gwinnett 64

Junior Kendall Joseph led the charge with a game-high 21 points and Brookwood's boys beat Central 77-64 on Tuesday.

The game was close in an explosive first quarter before the Broncos' distanced themselves in the second for a 36-22 halftime lead.Central got within 10 points on a strong drive to the hoop by Shaun

Jones early in the fourth quarter, but Brookwood answered with threeto shut the door.

Jones scored 20 points for the Black Knights, Michael Vos-Otin added13 and Brian Egejuru had 12.

Joining Joseph in double figures for Brookwood were Deion Dedeaux with16 and Khalil Abdulah with 11.