The Briarwood Buccaneers fell to the visiting Gatewood Gators 74-67 in overtime Friday before a packed house.
“We may have lost this one, but we didn’t lose the war,” head coach Bo Fleming said after the game. “We start our region tournament play next week, and we proved tonight that we can beat anyone on any given night.”
The Bucs were first on the board for the night off a Tyler Daniel basket. Gatewood took the lead shortly thereafter and held the lead throughout the first period. Aggressive shooting by Briarwood, including three Spencer Hadden three-pointers, kept the score close, however, and the period ended with Gatewood holding a four-point lead at 23-19.
Briarwood pulled within two points of the lead early in the second period with a Ryan Pritchett basket to start the period. Gatewood soon widened the gap to 11 points, and the score stood at 40-29 late in the period. Successive baskets by Tyler Daniel and a three-pointer by Colt Phelps helped narrow the Gatewood lead, but the Bucs still trailed at the half 43-35.
The Bucs continued to narrow the Gatewood lead in the third period, aided by two three-point baskets by Dalton Reese, and Briarwood had pulled within five by the end of the period, with Gatewood leading 54-49.
Sheer Buccaneer tenacity held the score close in the fourth period, and with under 4 minutes left in regulation play, Briarwood tied the game at 58 off a Ryan Pritchett basket.
A successful basket by Dalton Reese gave the Bucs their first lead since early in the game, allowing the Bucs to go ahead 60-58.
Gatewood tied the game at 62 all before Briarwood again took a two point lead.
A successful free throw by Gatewood with 38 seconds left in the game tied the score at 64, where the score stood at the end of regulation play to send the game into overtime.
A Dalton Reese free throw gave the Bucs an early lead in the four-minute overtime period. A two-point basket by Tyler Daniel stretched that lead to 67-64 before Daniel fouled out of the game. With Daniel gone, Gatewood soon took a 69-67 lead, and they would continue to hold the lead through the remainder of the game. Despite gallant efforts by the Bucs to put more points on the board, at the end of overtime Gatewood held the lead, 74-67.
“The seniors stepped up big tonight,” Fleming said after the game. “We just missed some free-throws there in the stretch, and weren’t able to put it away.”
Tyler Daniel was the leading scorer for the game with 22 points, followed by Dalton Reese with 21.
“It was a tough loss,” Daniel said after the game. “Fouls got us in trouble, and that’s what cost us the game.”
“I hated that we lost,” Reese said “As seniors, that was my and Tyler’s last game on that court, and we really wanted to win. I thought we had them at the end, but I knew it was going to be tough after both Tyler and Colt Phelps fouled out. We did the best we could with what we had, but it just didn’t work out.”
“I agree, the fouls killed us,” Daniel said.
In other totals, Spencer Hadden had 9 points for the game, Colt Phelps had 7, Ryan Pritchett had 6, and Steven Parris had 2.
The Buccaneers began post-season play Monday in Piedmont, who is hosting the regional playoff games.