The gym at Bryan County High School should be rocking Friday night when the No. 1 seed and eighth-ranked Lady Redskins (22-4) play host to Westside Augusta in the first round of the girls’ Class AA basketball playoffs.
Tipoff is at 6 p.m., and coach Mario Mincey said the Patriots feature both experience and size, so the key for his team is to stick with what got them this far.
"We must remain calm and just play our style of basketball, which starts with good defense," Mincey said.
That "keep calm and play good defense" mantra has worked so far for the Lady Redskins, who captured the Region 2-AA tournament crown on Sunday with a 52-49 win over No. 6-ranked Vidalia in Lyons.
Mincey called it "a very intense game from start to finish. Vidalia was playing for their fourth straight region title and has a lot of experience. This game reminded me of our region title game in 2011 which we won by just playing good defense and being smart on the offensive end."
Not surprisingly, the contest was close throughout. The Redskins led 8-7 after the first period; Vidalia was up 22-21 at halftime; Bryan County edged out to a 38-35 lead by the end of the third period and played Vidalia to a draw in the final stanza.
Mincey singled out several players for praise afterward.
I was really pleased with the play of Julianne Brown. She led the way with 22 points while sophomore Shelby Gunn and freshman Olanna Rawls combined for 19," he said. "We had some big defensive plays late in the game from Yasmine Crawford, Alayna Williams and Alyssa Edwards that helped seal the title for us. Jay Black also came off the bench and gave us a much needed spark in the third quarter."
It was a big win for a program that has had its share of big wins.
"I am thankful for a great coaching staff, loyal fans and a great group of senior players," Mincey said.