Northwest Whitfield girls basketball coach Margaret Stockburger was looking for a Christmas-time challenge.

She has probably found one in the prestigious Deep South Classic that gets under way Tuesday at Brookwood High School in Snellville.

The Lady Bruins (9-0), ranked seventh by the GaSports.com Web site, take on host Brookwood (6-3) at 7 p.m. in their first game.

Depending on the outcome of that game, the Lady Bruins will play the winner or loser of the Pace-Spruce Creek contest on Wednesday.

This year’s DSC 16-team girls field — there are also 16 boys squads competing — is comprised of teams from Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida and Virginia.

Teams from Georgia, Maryland , Alaska, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida and Virginia make up the boys bracket.

“One reason I wanted to go to this tournament is to find some teams that are probably better than us,” Lady Bruins coach Margaret Stockburger said. “I want to take the girls out of town and see what we’re capable of doing in a tournament like this.

“I think we’re going to play some good teams that will give us great competition. We’ll see totally different teams that have some height and we’ll see how we stack up.”

While guaranteeing teams at least three games, the DSC actually has a championship at stake, unlike many Thanksgiving and Christmas tournaments.

“But if we win two games we’ll get a fourth,” Stockburger said. “I had to leave a date open on our schedule in case we’re lucky enough to get a fourth game down there.”

Stockburger, who is in her 24th year at Northwest, the last 10 as head coach, will be going for her 200th victory against Brookwood. She goes into the DSC with a 199-63 record.

Brookwood is a member of Region 8-5A and has won three straight games leading up to this year’s DSC. The Lady Broncos’ winning streak consists of region victories over Meadowcreek (68-27), Shiloh (63-47) and Grayson (56-49).

Stockburger scouted the Lady Broncos against Meadowcreek on Dec. 10 and came away impressed with coach Scott Terry’s club.

“Although they played a team that wasn’t very good, Brookwood will be a good test for us,” Stockburger said. “They’ve got a sophomore point guard that does a great job handling the ball, handling pressure defense, and she does a good job penetrating. They have a girl on the wing that shoots extremely well who can take it to the hole and rebounds well.

“And they have a good post player that will test our girls.”

Northwest thrives on applying relentless pressure defense and an up-tempo offense that seldom slows down.

Through their first nine games, the Lady Bruins are allowing opponents an average of 36.5 points per game. Meanwhile, Northwest’s offense is averaging a whopping 76.4 points. The season-high output was 103 points against Murray County. The low was 44 points in a nine-point win over Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe.

The Lady Bruins wrapped up their pre-tournament practices on Wednesday before taking a four-day break.

“We’ve worked hard but need time to spend with our families and friends at Christmas time,” Stockburger said. “We’ll come back Monday for our final practice before we play down there on Tuesday.”

Stockburger has been pleased with the Lady Bruins’ consistent play, with the exception of a poor shooting performance against LFO.

The Lady Bruins haven’t played since Dec. 13 when they ran past Ringgold, 73-38.

Against the Lady Tigers, The Lady Bruins held a one-point lead after one quarter but stretched it to 13 at halftime.

Larken Logan led Northwest with 18 points while Brianna Chumley had 12 and Amy Pendergrass 11.

Samantha Avery pulled down 15 rebounds, Vanessa Jackson had 10 steals and five assists and Brinkley Knowles had six assists, as the Lady Bruins have a continuing knack for getting numerous players involved in the game’s outcome.

“The girls have really been focused in our nine ballgames,” the veteran coach said. “You’re going to have games when you don’t shoot well, but the good thing is that we kept our defensive intensity and made things happen when the shots didn’t go down. That’s a credit to this team.”



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