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Brookwood heads to region tournament after stellar regular season

Feb. 9—THOMASVILLE — With the regular season officially over, the Brookwood boys basketball team heads into the post-season off a remarkable run. The Warriors finished the regular season an incredible 24-2 and solidified and undefeated region record with a 66-39 win over Valwood on Tuesday night. While his team is playing extremely well, Brookwood head basketball coach Nate VanDuyne believes that the health of this Warriors team is their most important asset.

"We're healthy. I think that's the biggest thing," VanDuyne said. "You get to this time of year and as much as you want your team to be playing well you want them to be healthy because an injury can just derail some of your goals and hopes. I think that's a huge thing for us at this point."

When asked how he will keep his players focused on what's in front of them, VanDuyne had an interesting answer. He cited the fact that this young Warriors team is full of players who haven't won a region championship and that will keep them hungry and focused on what's in front of them.

"I think one thing we have going for us is that we didn't win it last year," VanDuyne said. "There are very many guys on our team, because we're so young, that haven't been on a region championship team yet. So, this is something that hasn't been done yet for a lot of these guys."

While Brookwood is a real all-around team, often being able to rely on multiple players to push them over the edge, Walker Jackson has been an essential piece for them. The 6'9 shot blocking machine's evolution into an elite defender in the paint and on the perimeter has been extremely impactful, helping the Warriors dominate the defensive end in any and every way.

"We've got a really good fastball with our zone and we've got a pretty darn good curve ball with our man-to-man," said VanDuyne. "You've got to be able to win different ways just because so much can be based upon matchups. We've just evolved to where we've been able to do both at times this year and that's been huge for us."

Despite dominating the regular season, only losing two games to a pair of solid public school programs and an undefeated region campaign, VanDuyne still believes his team hasn't peaked. Offensively, they are very good. Brookwood's final score is often in the 60's and they've dropped 80 plus twice this season. Defensively, they have held their opponents to an average of 43.6 points per game and Jackson is making everyone think twice about where they take their shot from. If they haven't peaked yet, this is a very scary post-season squad.

Brookwood has a first round bye in the region tournament and will start their post-season run on Tuesday. One thing if for sure, this Warriors team is ready for the post-season. As VanDuyne said, "I think we're ready for the stakes to be raised."