September 25, 2018

Braves oust Cavs to earn spot at state

(Franklin, GA) — The Braves are headed back to the state playoffs.

Following a come-from-behind 58-51 home win over rival Callaway Tuesday night, Coach Keith Simmons and his troops have secured a spot in the state playoffs for the second straight season.

They to improve their seeding at those playoffs when they take on the top-seeded Spencer Greenwave in the Region 5-AA semifinals at Columbus tomorrow night.

The Braves trailed by as many as nine points late in the third quarter Tuesday before closing out the Cavs with a big fourth quarter.

Alijah Huzzie led the team in scoring with 22 including an outstanding eight of nine from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

A big crowd looks on as freshman Ayden Cannon (#3) gets the pass during the Braves 58-51 win over Callaway Tuesday night in Franklin

Several other Braves also had big scoring nights including Tray Dunson with 15, Will Hammett with eight, and freshman Ayden Cannon with seven.

The Braves will face a tall task in the semifinal match-up with the Spencer Greenwave, a team the Braves have already played twice with two totally different outcomes.

The Braves upset the Greenwave in their best game of the season by a final score of 55-54 on January 27 but were dismantled 89-36 three days later by the Greenwave in Columbus.

Simmons is pleased with the progress of his team that only returned two starters from last year’s Region Championship team and started the season losing 12 of 13 in non-region play.

“It’s a big win anytime it moves you on to the state playoffs. I told these guys that we have improved and progressed leaps and bounds during the season even more than we even did last year,” said Simmons.

“We played hard tonight and I’m so proud of these guys to get this one with our backs against the walls. I always tell them to just worry about each possession one at a time and they did that tonight. Huzzie hitting all those free throws late was big and we kept the energy up late in the game after Darius fouled out.”

Matthews, a senior, was emotional after fouling out late in the fourth quarter and Simmons says it was good to see the team step up to make sure it would not be his last game in a Heard County uniform.

The Braves will tip off with the Greenwave at 8:30 PM tomorrow night at Spencer High in Columbus. Jordan defeated Lamar County in Tuesday night’s other action and will battle Temple in the other semifinal at 5:30 tomorrow.

Region 5-AA matches up with Region 6-AA in round one of the state playoffs February 16-17.

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