7A blog: No. 1 Brookwood’s girls build on historic season

Brookwood’s girls basketball team made history last season by reaching the Class 7A semifinals. That was the program’s best finish in 40-year school history. Now, the Broncos are ranked No. 1 in most polls.

Courtney Mincy, the Gwinnett County native and University of Alabama player hired as Brookwood’s coach in 2019, is not paying much attention to that, however.

“I try not to put that pressure on myself or the team,’’ Mincy said. “Yes, we accomplished what we did, and that was great, but the standards and expectations are still the same. We’ve always had the same goal.’’

Led by junior Diana Collins, a 5-foot-10 point guard committed to Georgia, Brookwood is 11-3 with victories over several perennially strong state programs including Holy Innocents’, Wesleyan, Greater Atlanta Christian, Buford and defending 7A champion Marietta.

The 52-51 victory Dec. 30 over Holy Innocents’ was especially satisfying. Holy Innocents’ is the No. 1 overall team in Georgia, according to MaxPreps, and beat Brookwood 72-59 on Dec. 9.

“If we’ve had a turning point, it was after that loss to Holy Innocents’ because we definitely folded under pressure in the fourth quarter,’’ Mincy said. “When we played them again, that’s when we dug in. We were down the entire game. We had to score quickly and get some stops.’’

Brookwood took the lead for the first time on Nedisha Ford’s layup with 4.5 seconds left.

Ford, a 5-5 guard, is a newcomer from Dutchtown. Mincy calls her ‘’my defensive bulldog.’’ Nekaya Williams, the 5-8 player who assisted the winning basketball, is another top Brookwood player, a slasher whose shot has improved this season.

Collins finished with 20 points, seven in the final minute. She is averaging 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals.

“Diana is a triple threat,’’ Mincy said. “She can do a little of everything. She can score numerous ways. She can shoot the 3 and get to the rack. She does a good job getting her teammates involved. She rebounds and defends some of the best players on the other team.’’

Also starting typically are 5-6 senior guard Shannon Niles and 6-foot sophomore forward Kate Phelan, along with Collins, who passed 1,000 points scored for her career earlier this season.

Brookwood plays tonight against Parkview. Also in Brookwood’s region is Grayson, ranked No. 2 in 7A by MaxPreps. Brookwood and Grayson will play twice in February.