November 29, 2020

Braves get first win under new head coach

Article written by Jordan Hofeditz / The Times-Georgian

(Tallapoosa, GA) — The Heard County High School boys’ basketball team got an early lead and never yielded, giving first-year head coach Paul Fitz-Simons his first career victory Tuesday night.

The Braves (1-2) got out to an 11-5 lead after the first quarter and never looked back en route to a 51-38 victory at Haralson County. Getting that first win is something Fitz-Simons appreciates, was happy to get and is now ready to get the next one after a solid effort.

“It would have been nice to get it in the first game we played, but I’m proud of the guys. They did a good job, they executed on offense,” Fitz-Simons said. “We played some of our football guys who have only been there one day, but they’ve got to learn and start somewhere. It was good to come up here and get a win.”

While the loss was a tough one for the Rebels (0-1) to open up the season, it’s a work-in-progress for Vic Coggins as he returns to the bench at his alma mater.

Down 25-10 after the first half, Haralson County didn’t just phone it in. The Rebels went back to work and that’s what kept the game competitive to the end.

“We’ve got to remember we’ve got two guys that have never played a varsity basketball game. We’ve got to grow up and we’ve got thrown in the fire. We started a freshman at one guard slot and a sophomore who never played varsity at point guard and we looked like it in the first half,” Coggins said.

Braves head coach Paul Fitz-Simons

Braves head coach Paul Fitz-Simons

“I thought we really came out and grew up and did the things we’re supposed to do in the second half.”

Leading the way for the Braves was Christian Murray with 15 points, while Jodarius Foster finished with 14.

Dekari Brewer finished with 10, but nine of them came in the fourth quarter helping Heard County hold on for the win.

The defense was also a big factor along with rebounding to get victory No. 1 on the year.

“I’m real proud of Dekari Brewer. I don’t know how many he had in the fourth quarter, but I think he had about seven right there in the fourth quarter. When you’re only scoring 52 points at the end of the game, that seven really helps,” Fitz-Simons said.

“We did a good job on the glass and held them to 38. When you hold a team to 38 you’re going to win most games you play.”

Trace Spradlin led the way for the Rebels with a game-high 21 points, including four 3-pointers made in the game to account for over half the offense.

“We know we’re trying to rebuild the program. We’re building from ground zero and trying to work our way up. We’re trying to teach dribbling the ball, passing the ball and shooting the ball and that’s hard to do at the varsity level when you don’t have that experience. I was very proud of their effort. I thought we played hard in the second half, we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot with the turnovers, missed lay-ups and missed free throws,” Coggins said.

There will be a short break for the holiday, but the Braves will get right back to work at the end of this week in order to play Tuesday when they host Our Lady of Mercy. It’s another chance for the team to get some more work in as a full unit and get out and play.

Saturday will be a homecoming of sorts for Coggins, who coached the Red Devils before moving into administration and then returning to the bench at Haralson. It will be a bit of catching up and then a tough 32 minutes against his former squad.

“I’m glad to go back and play at Bowdon. A lot of good folks I’ll get the chance to catch up with a little bit. Again, these guys played hard, we’re just still learning the game of basketball. Pleased with our effort and excited about what I saw in the second half,” Coggins said.

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