December 5, 2020

Braves knock off Blue Devils; Lady Braves land in Classic Final

santa-dunking(Villa Rica, GA) — After an 0-4  start to the season, the boys varsity Braves basketball team bounced back Friday night in Carroll County as a strong second half comeback gave the Braves a 53-48 win over Bremen in round two of the SMI Carroll County Christmas Classic contested at Villa Rica High School.

The win was an overall team effort with no single player scoring in double digits.

Sophomore Jordarius Foster and freshman Darius Matthews did lead the way on the stat sheet with nine points each with Foster snatching seven rebounds while Matthews came up with four big steals.

The Braves trailed 26-19 at the half.

“This was a total team effort and that’s how we’ve got to play this year. We’ve been on the guys the past two weeks about heart, hustle, rebounding and defense,” said head coach Phillip Manning Friday night. “We won the rebounding battle by a long shot — if my stats are correct we had more offensive rebounds than Bremen had total rebounds.”

“We also finally woke up and played with some passion on defense. Because of that, we won despite turning the ball over 25+ times and shooting 26% from the field,” added Manning. “If we can continue that hard work on the glass and on defense, hopefully the shots start falling and we learn to calm down and take care of the ball. If we do that, I think you’re going to be looking at a pretty tough team come February.”

Other leading scorers for the Braves were freshman Emory Jones with eight, sophomore Christian Murray with eight, and sophomore Torrence Allen with seven. Murray also notched seven boards.

The Braves will now take on Mt. Zion in the consolation championship game today with a tip time of 2:00 p.m. back at Villa Rica.

Manning was glad to see his guys get that first win out of the way.

“It is always nice to go ahead and get that first win of the season and hopefully it gives our guys a little confidence going forward,” said Manning. “We really have no idea how good we could potentially be this season because of all of the turnovers we’ve committed so far. Even tonight we had way too many, but luckily we were able to force Bremen to turn it over more than they would have liked with the amped up defense in the second half.”

In girl’s action, the Lady Braves advanced to tonight’s Christmas Classic Final after knocking off Bremen 39-31 in the semifinals. Khila Bradfield led the scoring for the Lady Braves with 12 while Cali Harrod had seven, Sage Kelley had six, and Whitney Emory and Madison Whitehead each had four.

The Lady Braves will battle the Central Lions for the third time this season in Saturday’s Championship which tips at 6:30 p.m. in Villa Rica. The Lady Lions downed Bowdon 47-28 in Friday’s semi-finals.

The Lady Braves hope to avenge two earlier losses to Central.

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