Diana Collins

SNELLVILLE — Shannon Niles kicked the ball out to senior Mia Bongcaron in the corner.

The hot-handed guard drained a long-range dagger and the Brookwood girls had their first double-digit lead with less than six minutes left of what had been a back-and-forth first-round battle with South Forsyth.

The Broncos (16-12) rode that momentum to a 75-60 victory Thursday and advanced past the first round for the first time in three years. They will play the winner of Friday's Marietta-Tift County matchup.

“(Bongcaron) stepped up big-time today,” said head coach Courtney Strauthers, a Shiloh grad in her first year holding the reins at Brookwood. “She's improved a lot being consistent with the 3-pointers. She's improved defensively as well. I was talking with her earlier and commending her on how much she's committed to the defensive end and committing to that.”

Bongcaron finished with 11 points, all in the second half, and was one of three Broncos in double figures.

Freshman point guard Diana Collins had a monster game with 21 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and five steals.

Senior center Selma Kulo finished with 15 points, six rebounds and two blocks.

“I'm always happy with a win,” Strauthers said. “I thought it was a good team effort. Mia knocked down her 3s. Diana did what she does. She made some key shots and got the team involved. Selma on the boards. We're getting players back. We're getting there.”

South Forsyth (18-11) hit nine 3-pointers in the game and two more long ones from just inside the arc. It went on an 8-0 run late in the first quarter to take a five-point lead, the largest of the game.

Brookwood started the second quarter strong with Kulo backing in for a bucket and the drawn foul. Freshman Ciera Hall hit one of her three trey and put the Broncos up 20-18. She and Niles each finished with nine points.

The teams traded the lead 10 times in the second quarter. South Forsyth took a 38-37 advantage into the half.

Strauthers reiterated her pregame talk during the break.

“They're a good 3-point shooting team,” said Strauthers, who played at Alabama before joining the college coaching ranks. “It's finding the closest person next to you and matching up. We just had to control that and limit their 3s.

“Selma did a good job showing up today on the offensive boards and executing as well.”

Brookwood started the second half on a 9-0 run and carved out a 46-38 lead. South Forsyth got as close as three when Collins drove the lane and kept the Broncos' nose in front.

“She did a good job of being a point guard, getting the team under control and knocking down some key shots,” Strauthers said. “She understood there was a time and a place, and being aware of the clock.”

Sophomore Tori Delk back in the lineup after missing January with an injury had four points and provided a boost from the bench. Junior Amya Durham added six points as well.

“One thing I can say is our team is well conditioned,” Strauthers said. “We don't have 15, 17 girls. They do a good job on the defensive end and staying out of foul trouble.

“We're a young team. It's been up and down. I think we're just starting to learn one another and learn how to play with one another. This is the time you want to peak.”

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