Broncos' offense comes up short at Cherokee

CANTON -- Early in the fourth quarter, Brookwood ripped off six straight points to break a 6-6 tie and take a 12-6 lead on the road at Cherokee.

The Broncos got a pair of free throws from Rebecca Walker and a 3-pointer from Courtney Gardner before Cherokee called a timeout.

It wouldn't be until the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter that the Broncos would show as much proficiency on offense against a scrappy and aggressive Cherokee defense in a 58-41 loss in the first round of the girls Class AAAAAA basketball tournament. The Warriors play North Forsyth in the second round.

Following the timeout, the Warriors ended the first quarter on a 10-1 run, taking a 16-13 lead. The run came exclusively from Aunisha Williams, who ended the game with 18 points, 13 coming in the first half.

After the first-quarter run, Brookwood never led again. The Warriors slowly pulled away, beating Brookwood to many loose balls and out-rebounding the Broncos 31-21.

The Broncos' Gardner led all scorers with 19 points, but was the only Brookwood player in double-digits as the team struggled shooting, making just 10 field goals all game and going 18 of 31 (58 percent) from the free-throw line. Nija Kurien scored eight, going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line and Walker scored seven and pulled down six rebounds before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.

Brookwood kept fighting, but even following a 7-3 run in the fourth quarter trailed by 14 and Cherokee answered scoring five of the final seven points, all from the line.

Of the 24 points scored in the fourth quarter, all but six came at the free-throw line.