(Buchanan, GA) — After an 0-10 start to the season against some tough competition, coach Phillip Manning and the Braves basketball team needed some good news and they found it this weekend at the 38th Annual Haralson County Christmas Tournament in Buchanan.
The Braves got back-to-back wins Friday and Saturday night to earn a spot in Monday night’s Championship game for the first time since the 2008-2009 season.
The Braves upended the Spring Garden Panthers Saturday night 51-40 fueled by a huge 28-0 run during the first half. After trailing the Panthers 12-4 late in the first quarter, the Braves stormed back to take a 31-12 lead late in the second before entering the locker room with a 31-14 advantage.
The Panthers managed only one basket in the second quarter against the Braves defense. The Panthers closed the gap in the second half but it was not enough as the Braves got the 11-point win.
Senior Taylor Smith (#2) and Junior Elijah Toney (#0) helped lead the Braves to their first two wins of the season Friday and Saturday in Buchanan.
Senior Taylor Smith led the scoring with 14 including two 3-point baskets. Other top scorers were Deron Swint and Levi Brown with nine and Jonathon Hunt with eight.
Poor free throw shooting was a deterrent for the Panthers although they got to the line way more than the Braves. Elijah Toney had four points, Lashon Echols added four, and Keith Moss finished with two.
In Friday night’s 69-45 win over the hosting Rebels, Deron Swint led all scoring with 19. Other top scorers from Friday’s game were junior Elijah Toney with 13, Smith with 10, Hunt with nine, and Corey Chapman with eight. Senior Tori Rogers, playing basketball for the first time in a few years, added five points.
The Braves will face a tall order Monday night in the Championship game versus the AAAAA South Paulding Spartans. The Spartans are 10-2 on the season with the only two losses coming to Paulding County and an undefeated Allatoona squad. The Championship will tip-off at 8:30 p.m. Monday night at Haralson County High School.
In girls action, the Lady Braves went the opposite direction after dropping the first two games of the tournament to Spring Garden and Bowdon. The Lady Braves were knocked off by the Panthers 59-32 on Friday before being downed 47-42 by the rival Red Devillettes on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Madison Whitehead led the scoring for the Lady Braves on Saturday with 16 followed by Jemeka Parks with 12 and Shemeka Parks with 10.
Jemeka Parks provided most of the scoring in Friday’s loss with 17 points. Freshman Hannah Sanders also contributed well adding six points while leading the team in rebounds with six.
The Lady Braves return to action on the road at Bremen on January 7. The Lady Braves entered the tourney on a six-game winning streak and are now 6-6 on the season.