THOMASVILLE — If you weren’t in the Thomasville High School gym on Thursday night then you may have missed out on a couple of game of the year candidates between the Brookwood Warriors and Thomasville Bulldogs.
The girls got things kicked off and Thomasville looked the best they have all year. Crisp passes, excellent ball handling and a composure on defense that they hadn’t shown all year allowed the Lady Dogs to jump out to a 12-0 lead. Kennedy Hayes was the floor general that Thomasville needed, gliding through the Warrior defense and finding passing lanes. Brookwood’s only points of the quarter came via a pair of made free throws by Abigail Squires and as the horn sounded on the first quarter, Thomasville led comfortably 14-2.
Brookwood felt a spark in the second quarter as Carriyona Williams entered the game. She got the Warriors on the board, turning a steal into a layup and followed that up with another take away leading to a three by Ainsley Jacobson.
Williams’ steals off the bench were the “spark” the Warriors needed as they began to find the basket. Head coach Jerry Ridley said of Willliams’ production off the bench “everybody just kind of fed off of her energy. Her coming off the bench and giving the spark like she did started the turn around.”
Williams would leave the game with an apparent leg injury late in the second half but, not before recording five steals, four of which resulted in points for the Warriors.
Brookwood began to make shots and cut the lead to six, but Thomasville continued to play well and maintained their lead as Jakayla Garland took it coast to coast for the easy layup. Thomasville continued to put on a passing clinic, finishing on the inside and doing an excellent job challenging every Brookwood shot. As the first half came to a close, the Lady Dogs had built the lead back up to 16 and led 28-12.
The second half was a completely different story.
“Basically the girls just decided and they took it upon themselves to do what they needed to do. They did a really good job of it,” Ridley said.
Williams gave the Warriors another spark with two steals, leading to four points in the first minute for Brookwood. Thomasville was unable to score until 3:08 left in the third, meanwhile, Brookwood was running the floor, out pacing the Lady Dogs and finding star forward Maddie Duncan for the easy basket. Brookwood scored six points off of fast break opportunities alone and another steal from Williams led to a three by Jacobson, cutting there once 16 point Thomasville lead to just four.
Brookwood was able to take their first lead of the game and extend it to four after an outlet pass from Morgan Boggs found Duncan. Duncan knocked down free throws and with 2:30 left in the game and Brookwood clung to a five point lead, 39-34.
While they were breaking the bank on offense, there was no slack for the Warriors on defense. They completely disrupted the Lady Dogs offense, challenging every shot, forcing bad turnovers as they only allowed Thomasville six points in the entire second half. Eventually, Thomasville was forced to foul and sent Boggs to the line, who knocked down clutch free throws. After being down by 16 at half time, Brookwood out scored the Lady Dogs 31-6 for the 43-34 win to remain undefeated on the season.