Buchholz girls basketball advances

The Buchholz girls’ basketball team made the most of their first playoff appearance in seven years.

The Lady Bobcats played relentless defense and punched their ticket to the next round with a 37-21 win against visiting Milton in an FHSAA Class 6A-Region 1 Quarterfinal on Tuesday night.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said first-year coach Niya Johnson. “This is what the girls worked hard for all season, and it’s all paying off one game at a time.”

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Junior Alicia Bryant didn’t put Buchholz on the scoreboard until there was 3:40 remaining in the opening quarter. However, the Bobcats’ aggressive defense helped keep them in the game.

Buchholz held the Lady Panthers (16-7), who were making their first postseason appearance in 12 years, to just 12 points the entire first half.

“I thought the energy was great,” Johnson said.

The defensive intensity continued in the second half as Buchholz limited Milton to just nine total points in the second half.

The Lady Bobcats (15-4) extended a 16-12 lead at the half to a 24-17 lead in the third quarter.

Sophomore Toni Davis helped put the game away in the fourth quarter as she was 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Davis led all scorers with 11 points.

Junior Tyra Peterson and senior Jasmine Harkness scored eight points each for Buchholz, which will host Navarre in Tuesday’s Region Semifinals.

Navarre eliminated Columbia (Lake City), 71-42, in the other regional quarterfinal. It denied the Lady Tigers (13-7) their first playoff win since 1992.

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