September 22, 2018

Braves rally from 12 down to upset Callaway

(Lagrange, GA) — Coach Keith Simmons and the Braves varsity basketball team pulled off an exciting 58-57 come from behind win at Callaway Tuesday night to open region play.

The Braves (11-4, 1-0) came from 12 points down late in the third quarter behind a strong fourth quarter from senior Jordarius Foster and a hot night of long distance shooting from sophomore Alijah Huzzie.

Huzzie led the scoring for the Braves with 16 including five 3-point baskets while Foster scored 14 all coming in the final quarter of play.

Sophomore Tray Dunson also had a huge game defensively as the Braves move to 1-0 in Region 5-AA action and 11-4 overall.

The Brave win over the state’s seventh ranked team snapped a 10 game winning streak by the Cavaliers dating all the way back to February of 2007.

Braylon Sanders led the Cavs with 26 but was unable to convert some very crucial foul shots late in the game.

The Braves trailed by eight entering the fourth quarter. Head coach Keith Simmons was very pleased to leave Lagrange with the hard-fought rivalry road victory in the important region opener.

“The boys really picked it up in the second half and fought through a lot of adversity,” said Simmons after the game.

“Huzzie had his game tonight –that’s the Alijah Huzzie we were getting all summer — he was just totally different. The way Tray Dunson played defense down the stretch was huge for us and Jordarius was big for us on the boards late in the game.”

Huzzie had two key shots including a 3-pointer at the third quarter buzzer to cut the Cav lead to single digits and another from long-range with just 1:32 to play in the game that put the Braves on top 56-53.

Foster’s inside play was also crucial as he fought for some tough rebounds especially on the offensive glass.

Simmons thought his team had some avoidable miscues down the stretch but thinks the close battle was good for his guys to be a part of at this point in the season.

“We have to stop getting so many turnovers down the stretch but you have to get in these games to be on those situations and know how to react,” Simmons said. “Callaway played hard as well and I think this game may help both teams in the long run — we are just happy to get out of a playoff-like atmosphere with this big win tonight. That’s a heck of a way to open up the region.”

Other leading scorers for the Braves were Dekari Brewer with 10 and Tay Watson with seven. The Braves will meet Callaway again on January 20 in Franklin.

In girls’ action, the Lady Braves also earned a hard-fought, physical 43-39 win over the Lady Cavs. The game was close throughout and the largest lead of the entire game was five.

Hannah Sanders led the way with a monster effort that included 20 points, double-digit rebounding, and she was also a prefect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Sanders foul shooting has been excellent all season.

Kimberly Harris had 12 points and Sage Kelley added seven to round out the top scorers. Sophomore guard Alexis Nelms had a nice game on defense filling in for injured senior Alyssa Cosper who has missed three straight games.

Coach Helen Akins was proud to see the tough fight from her girls on the road in a game they trailed with under three minutes to play.

“We weren’t shooting real well but we kept fighting and shot well from the foul line down the stretch,” Akins said following the big win.

“We definitely miss Alyssa Cosper’s senior leadership, but Alexis Nelms is doing a great job filling in for her. So proud to get this big win tonight — especially with it being on the road — that means a lot.”

The Lady Braves (11-4,1-0) are ranked as the No. 7 team in the state in Class AA by the AJC.

The Braves and Lady Braves will both return home to host Jordan Friday night (6:00/7:30 PM) in another Region 5-AA contest.

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