September 25, 2018

Lady Braves advance in Region 5-AA Tourney

(Franklin, GA) — The No. 3 seeded Lady Braves rolled into the Region 5-AA tournament semifinals Tuesday night in Franklin dominating the Jordan Red Jackets 61-19 in a contest that was never in doubt for the home team.

Coach Helen Akins’ improving squad led 16-5 after a quarter and 31-8 at the half on the way to the first round win.

The Lady Braves (10-14, 7-4) will now move on to battle rival Callaway (8-11, 7-3) at 4:00 PM Thursday on the campus of Spencer High School in Columbus.

This will be the third meeting this season between the two closely matched lineups and the Lady Braves will be aiming for a different outcome after dropping the first two close affairs.

Junior Sydney Gay (#2) battles for a rebound at HHS Tuesday night

The Lady Cavaliers edged the Lady Braves 53-48 on January 2 in Franklin and again pulled out a close one in Lagrange on January 24 winning 57-55 in overtime.

Senior Sage Kelley again led the team in scoring Tuesday night with 20 and Morgan Kay continued her hot shooting with 14 to go along with eight rebounds.

Alexis Nelms, Ellie Googe, and Tori Caldwell each scored six while freshman Sophia Long added five and Sydney Gay finished with four.

“This is just huge for our girls — they have worked so hard and we’ve been fighting such adversity with this group that is so much smaller than our teams in the past. We’ve just been trying to come up with what works for them and lately it’s finally been clicking,” said Coach Helen Akins after Tuesday night’s win.

“They are such a smart group and they just play so hard — these kids are not afraid to play anybody and that is half the battle. We’re excited to get another shot at Callaway with a chance to get back to the region title game again.”

Akins says that the two top scorers in Tuesday’s game have been crucial down the stretch in helping the team win four of its last five games and build momentum for postseason play.

“Morgan Kay’s confidence level has improved so much this year and I’m just so proud and Sage Kelley just keeps doing it night in and night out. She has started every single game for the last four years and I can’t say enough about her efforts.”

The win also secures the team’s fourth straight state playoff appearance under Coach Akins.

Region 5-AA will match-up with Region 6-AA in the first round February 16-17. A win over Callaway in Columbus would secure home court advantage in that first round state playoff game.

Spencer defeated Temple in the other game at HHS Tuesday and the Greenwave will take on top-seeded Lamar County in the other semifinal.

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