It wasn't the prettiest basketball game the Brookwood girls have played.
Still the result was beautiful to Warriors coach Meghan Waites. Despite struggling to find the basket, Brookwood clawed past visiting John Paul II 20-17 for its 12th straight win.
"We couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean tonight, from underneath, from the free throw line, you name it and we couldn’t throw it in the ocean," Waites said. “But they made them when it counted.
“We found a way. That’s all I can say.”
The 12-2 Warriors trailed from the start, but slowed down John Paul enough that they trailed just 12-11 when the final quarter opened.
“We’re not the quickest team and we’re not very deep, so really in the first half we just try and sag it in the lane, because we don’t want to get in foul trouble,” Waites said. “The second half, we came out and started pressuring the ball a little bit and trapped a few times on their ball screens and we got a few turnovers.
“That really turned out to be the difference in the game.”
Two minutes into it, Brookwood forced the game's fifth tie when Vallie Smith hit one of two free throws. With 5:30 left, Sara Clair Fennell hit one of two as well and the Warriors had their first lead 13-12.
A three-point play from Maddie Eason and a bucket from Madeleine Harrer helped Brookwood push its lead to 18-12 with 2:49 left.
However, making just 8 of 24 free throws, the Warriors couldn't put the Panthers away as Maria Nixon, who finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds, hit John Paul’s first basket from the floor since 3:24 remained in the first half, with 1:59 left. Less than a minute later, she banked in a 3-pointer to pull the Panthers within 20-17.
Harrer led Brookwood with seven points and 11 rebounds, while Eason added six and nine as the Warriors pulled down 17 offensive rebounds. That included one from Christy Quinton with 7.5 seconds left as she hauled in her own miss from the free throw line and Brookwood dribbled out the clock from there.
John Paul boys 46
The Warriors, who never trailed, looked like they would have an easy win late in the third quarter. Brookwood, which led 19-10 at halftime, pushed that advantage to a game-high 14 when Jacob Sloan scored with 1:54 left in the period to make it 36-22.
John Paul, though, responded with an 8-0 run to close the quarter and keep itself in the game. The Panthers finished that run with five points in the final second of the third. After Frank Tracy scored and was fouled with 0.5 seconds remaining, he hit the free throw before Brookwood attempted a length-of-the-floor inbounds pass that hit the ceiling. John Paul then hit a shot at the buzzer to pull with 36-30.
There, Brookwood quickly pushed the lead back to double digits as Hampton Worthey scored and Jake Piazza drained a pair of free throws in the first minute. However, John Paul kept answering and actually pulled within 47-44 with 42 seconds left when Tracy hit a free throw. His bucket 10 seconds later again made it a three-point game before Brookwood closed it out.
Sloan paced the Warriors with 16 points and four steals, while Piazza and John Stauffer each added eight. Tracy led the Panthers with 14. Marshall Moyle added eight points and seven rebounds.