July 18, 2018

Braves upset Greenwave in home thriller

JaCorian Allen (#1) and Alijah Huzzie (#23) go up defensively during Saturday’s big win over Spencer (Photo courtesy of Jeff Napier)

(Franklin, GA) — Coach Keith Simmons and the Braves varsity basketball squad pulled off a thrilling upset at Heard High Saturday knocking off the top team in the region Spencer by a final score of 55-54.

The traditionally slow starting Braves (5-17, 4-5) jumped out to an early 13-5 lead and held on for a 15-12 advantage after the first quarter before the deep and talented Greenwave (16-7, 6-2) stormed back to take a 33-26 lead at the half.

The Braves would own the third quarter however with a stellar defensive effort that allowed Spencer just seven points.

Will Hammett scored four straight and Alijah Huzzie nailed a three at the buzzer to give the home Braves a 44-41 lead heading to the fourth.

The game and the fourth quarter in particular featured several lead changes including six over the last 2:17 of action.

It was a big go-ahead bucket by Tray Dunson to put the home team on top 55-54 with 32 seconds to play. Stout defense by the Braves would keep the Greenwave from scoring or even reaching the line during the last 30 seconds.

Alijah Huzzie led the scoring with 21 and senior Darius Matthews wasn’t far behind with 15. Dunson had nine and Hammett finished with six.

The win should provide a big confidence boost for the team heading into the final two region games ahead of the Region 5-AA tournament.

The Braves fell Friday night 68-63 to Jordan at home after an enormous comeback effort fueled by 33 points and five 3-pointers from Huzzie. The Braves had trailed the Red Jackets by 19 at the half before coming back to tie the game at 60 with under a minute to play.

Coach Simmons thinks the never say die attitude in Friday’s close loss and the huge upset Saturday are results of his team understanding what he wants them to do execution wise on the defensive end of the floor.

“I think these guys bought into some of the things we did defensively on Friday night and that helped us to get this win over Spencer today,” said Simmons after Saturday’s win.

“There were some unsung people last night like Ayden Cannon coming back from injury and JaCorian Allen stepping up defensively that showed that it’s not necessarily the players with ‘quote unquote’ best basketball talent that win games but those that play better as a team.”

Simmons also knows that the prolific efforts thus far by Huzzie this season will put a target on his back for the opposition.

“We have to understand that teams are going to try to take Huzzie out of the game but the thing about him is he is not only a great scorer — but he is also a great point guard with a high basketball I.Q. and knows when to make the right pass.”

The Braves won’t have long to celebrate as they hit the road Tuesday night to take on Spencer again before closing out the regular season against Lamar County Friday night in Franklin (7:30 tip).

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