SNELLVILLE — Brookwood was playing as a guest in its own host on Wednesday night in the Region 7-AAAAAAA semifinals against Berkmar.
As it turned out, the surrogate hosts weren’t very hospitable as the Patriots overcame a slow start to top Brookwood 60-52 to send the Patriots to the region championship game Friday night at Brookwood against Norcross at 8 p.m.
Brookwood, who was the visiting team due to being a lower seed, got off to a hot start by building a 21-11 lead after the first quarter.
Bubba Parham, who finished with 15 points, scored seven of those in the frame, while Markus Smith (who also finished with 15 points) added eight points.
But Berkmar didn’t panic and stayed with its game plan and by the half had pulled within a basket at 28-26.
“We’ve had a week off and were a little rusty early,” Berkmar head coach Greg Phillips said. “Brookwood was playing well but we got in a defensive groove in the second half.”
The Patriots (20-6) took their first lead of the night on the opening possession of the third quarter with a 3-pointer from Jay Estime.
However, Brookwood (20-6) hung tough and trailed by a mere point at 41-40 by the end of the third.
Midway through the fourth, it was still a one-point game in favor of Berkmar at 46-45, but the Patriots finally put together a 9-2 run to build a 55-47 cushion with just under two minutes left.
Zach Cooks, who didn’t practice all week due to a facial injury suffered at the end of the regular season, led that spurt with three assists and scoring one basket.
Cooks, who normally starts, came off the bench to finish with 18 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Estime also scored 18 for Berkmar with Al Durham following with 17 points.
Brookwood, which will play Meadowcreek on Friday night at 5 p.m. for third place, also received 14 from Trae Higginbotham.
The Patriots will face Norcross for the region championship this Friday 2/10 @ Brookwood with an 8:00 PM tip-off!
*Article courtesy of Gwinnett Daily Post