(Mt. Zion, GA) – For the third time in four years the Heard County Middle School Lady Braves basketball team defeated the Bowdon Red Devils in a championship game.
This time the Lady Braves won by a final score of 39-38, bringing the West Georgia Middle School Division Championship back to Heard County after the Saturday morning tournament finale in Mt. Zion.
The win did not come easy as the girls trailed the Devils most of the game and had to claw and fight for every basket and rebound before pulling it out in the end.
“We fought so hard today,” stated Kathy Scott after the game. “Most teams would have quit after being so far down but our girls never gave up and showed so much heart and determination. It shows a lot of character when you don’t give up.”
The Lady Braves managed a 6-0 run to end the first half after trailing by 14 with 2:02 to play in the second quarter.
The run was keyed by the first of two huge 3-point baskets in the game delivered by Aspen Barker.
The run continued in the third quarter when Sage Kelly nailed another shot from outside the arc to close the gap to 22-17.
The Red Devils continued to play well, however, pulling away again and leading 29-22 at the end of the third quarter before the inside presence of Hannah Stephens and Hannah Sanders became too much for them.
A 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter put the Lady Braves on top 32-31 for the first time since early in the game.
Hannah Stephens was unstoppable in the fourth quarter scoring seven straight points for her team including a three-point play on a foul. Stephens was named as the tournament MVP after leading all scorers with 15 points and many big rebounds on both ends of the floor.
Sanders and Stephens combined for most of the damage as the Braves scored 17 in the final quarter.
The Red Devils had a chance to close the gap late but a two-point basket was not enough as the clock expired with the Lady Braves coming out on top 39-38.
Other top scorers for the Lady Braves were Sanders with eight, Kelly and Barker each with six, Alyssa Cosper with three, and Ally Harris with three. Cosper and Harris were relentless on the defensive end of the floor all game long.
In addition to Stephens being named Tournament MVP, Sage Kelly, Alyssa Cosper, and Hannah Sanders were named to the all-tournament squad.
The Lady Braves have defeated the Red Devils in all three of their recent championship games but never by more than a two-point margin proving just what an intense and close rivalry exists between the two teams.
According to coach Kathy Scott, she has very likely coached her last school team. She goes out as easily the most storied and successful basketball coach in Heard County history.
The days that I didn’t want to go to practice. Where sometimes I just wanted to lay down and say I’m done but right by my side I had my teammates that helped me through it. I want to thank our cheerleaders, fans and family’s for being there to support us all the way through. It has been a great and wonderful season. God has blessed me with an ability that is un believable. We always said when we win we praise God, when we lose we still praise God. My girls will always be my girls . Thanks to the three most wonderful coaches that I’ll never forget. These have been the best years. I love my girls.”~ Tournament MVP Hannah Stephens