Region 5-AA Champions (Front L-R): Ally Harris, Kimberly Harris, Hannah Sanders, Mgr. Gabby Owensby, Alyssa Cosper, Haley Bennett (Back L-R): Marissa Garza, Morgan Kay, Tori Caldwell, Emily Iddins, Ellie Googe, Coach Josh Cooley, Coach Shaqueri Talmadge, Sage Kelley, Alexis Nelms, Head Coach Helen Akins
(Franklin, GA) — Kimberly Harris had arguably the best game of her career Friday night in Franklin to lead the Lady Braves to a 58-31 win over Callaway and a second straight Region 5-AA Championship.
Harris was named Region 5-AA MVP earlier this week and she left no doubt in anyone’s mind at the region tournament that it was a well-deserved honor.
The senior post player “showed up and showed out” in the title game, scoring a career high 29 points on the offensive end while hauling down 17 rebounds and blocking six shots on the defensive end.
The Callaway girls battled hard to keep the game close, only trailing 21-17 at the half, but a 16-2 run from the Lady Braves to open the second half would be just too much to overcome.
Sophomore Haley Bennett had a big night for the Lady Braves scoring 13 including two from long range.
Sage Kelley scored eight with two from outside the arc. Harris and Kelley were named to the all-tournament team.
Coach Helen Akins was extremely proud of her girls’ performance in the big game atmosphere, especially after they had struggled a bit to overcome injuries and sluggish play during the last part of the regular season.
“It just feels really good but what feels the best is watching these girls come back to where they were and to see them playing to their true potential,” said Akins after the game.
“Kimberly Harris went crazy on offense and crazy on defense — just playing the way she is capable of playing — I am just so proud of all these girls for playing team ball this week.”
Akins was also pleased with the play of her guards including Bennett’s play off the bench.
All-Tournament Lady Braves Sage Kelley (L) and Kimberly Harris (R)
“Haley came in with the hot hand against that zone defense. When we really needed some shooters she was nailing it,” added Akins.
“Sage also played well at the point position. She does a great job of keeping her cool — the point guard is like the quarterback — we need her to be steady and tonight she was steady and in control for us.”
The Lady Braves will now host a first round state playoff game versus either Dade County or Pepperell from Region 7-AA.
Those two teams are meeting in the Region 7-AA consolation game Saturday afternoon and the Lady Braves will host the loser of that game next Saturday night in Franklin.
Stay tuned to HeardCitizen.com for further info as it becomes available.