Brookwood wins region title, gearing up for state tournament

Feb. 16—THOMASVILLE — The Brookwood Warriors became region champions on Thursday night after taking down Deerfield-Windsor in the region tournament. The Warriors' 58-49 win solidified them as a legitimate contender for a state title, finishing this portion of the season at 26-2.

Brookwood was led by Walker Jackson, who finished the night with 21 points and five slams against the Knights.

"It felt good. It was a close one, a knock out, kind of drag out game. I think the cool thing is that it's a unique year to where we've just had a lot of success," said Brookwood head basketball coach Nate VanDuyne. "We've kind of checked off all the things we've wanted to do thus far. I think the great thing is that guys are still hungry to see if they can check off that final piece, which is going to take a lot of work."

The Warriors have been excellent this season. Not only have they only lost two games, they are currently on a 16 game win streak and went 10-0 in region play. Now, with a region title hanging in the rafters, the Warriors can look to the state tournament.

VanDuyne believes his team has a distinct advantage. This year has been all about versatility for the Warriors. Jackson's evolution into a truly elite defender has helped Brookwood sure up any holes in their defense allowing for an air tight seal in any formation. Teams often face different styles of play in the state playoffs. Things they've never seen before and haven't practiced. But, Brookwood's defensive versatility could be what pushes them over the top.

"I think that's the one advantage we have. We've been able to play zone, we've been to play man, obviously, we're pretty good when we get into transition and we've won some grind out games even though I feel like our deficiency is in half court offense," VanDuyne said. "We've shown throughout the year that we can win by scoring a lot, we've proved a couple times that we can win by scoring in the 30s and 40s. I think that's a massive thing. When you have that versatility, it helps you counteract that matchup based issue."

The biggest question surrounding this young Brookwood squad is can they step up with the stakes raised. Playoff basketball is different, especially in the state playoffs.

"You're dealing with teenagers, so, there's the nerves of now we don't want to be outcome driven, but, at the same time, the outcome does dictate whether your season is over or you continue," VanDuyne said. "So, now there is that win or go home component to it."

Brookwood will find out who they play in round one this weekend and will begin preparations for the state tournament on Monday.