January 23, 2022

Braves drop two close battles at Callaway

(Lagrange, GA) — The Heard County High School boy’s and girl’s basketball teams each fell in hard-fought losses to rival Callaway Friday night in Lagrange.

The Braves battled down to the wire before falling 60-54 as Callaway secured home court advantage for the upcoming Region 5-AA tournament.

Senior Chance Curbow had a huge night for the Braves scoring 14 points including four 3-point baskets.

One of Curbow’s long-range baskets came at the buzzer to close out the first quarter while another came in the waning moments of the second quarter to give the Braves a 28-27 advantage at the half.

Senior Brave Chance Curbow

The Cavs went on a strong run to open the second half and led by 13 at the end of the third quarter but the Braves kept fighting back.

A bucket from senior Ethan Lawson put the Braves back on top 56-54 with just two minutes to go in the game, but the Cavs would pull away late.

Lawson scored 13 on the night including three from outside the arc while D.J. Herring scored seven and Ayden Cannon had six points.

Freshman Jonathan Echols made his much-anticipated debut off the bench after missing most of the season due to a football injury and surgery.

“It’s a game that we should’ve won. Being happy that you’re in games and you’re close was good enough last year but this year it’s just not acceptable — we have to win those games,” said Coach Derek Smith after the game.

Smith was pleased to see the 6’5″ freshman in the lineup for first time this season and thinks his presence can be helpful in multiple ways down the stretch.

“It is not only tremendous to have Echols back on the court, but it brings another element of competition where guys have to understand what I’ve been saying since I got here — that if you don’t perform and do what you’re asked to do consistently then you won’t play — because there is always going to be somebody else coming.”

The Braves still control their own destiny for the region tournament’s No. 2 seed with region games next week at Temple Tuesday night and at home versus Haralson County Friday night to close out the regular season.

In girls’ action Friday night, the Lady Cavaliers outlasted the Lady Braves by a final score of 58-53.

The Lady Braves led 25-20 at the half before a Callaway run and a 3-point basket at the third quarter buzzer put the home team up 39-36 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Cavs would lead the rest of the way with the Lady Braves pulling as close as four on a Jayden Boykin 3 with 18.3 seconds to play.

Sophomore Jasmine Owens had a huge night for the Lady Braves leading the way with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Boykin also had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Sophia Long had seven points, six rebounds and four steals while Hermonie Garza scored six.

“A very hard-fought game tonight, but we missed some assignments and there are some things as coaches that we can probably do a little bit better too,” said Coach Helen Akins after the game.

“Success is never final and failure is never fatal — so this is not the time to throw in the towel and be like it’s doom and gloom and the end of the world because it’s not. We coach some really good kids that play really hard and we’re going to get back after it tomorrow. At the end of the day, basketball is a tournament sport and you’ve got to win the tournament.”

If the Lady Braves win out in region they could be tied with the Lady Cavs and home court for the Region 5-AA girls’ tourney would be determined via coin flip.

The Lady Braves travel to Tallapoosa tonight for a COVID make-up region contest at Haralson County at 6:00 PM. The JV Lady Braves will face the Rebels at 4:30 PM prior to the varsity game.

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