August 1, 2021

Lady Braves Collect Haralson Invitational Championship Trophy

2011 Haralson County Invitational Champions: BACK ROW (L-R) Asst. Coach Kayla Grizzle, Whitney Emory, Ashley Denton, Jasmine Cook, Aaliyah Rutledge, Christina Cole, Head Coach Valerie Williams FRONT ROW: (L-R) Reece Walker, Jemeka Parks, Tanisha Johnson, Shemeka Parks, Cali Harrod

The Lady Braves carried some new hardware home on the bus Friday night after dropping a solid Central Lion team 44-36 to win the 36th Annual Haralson County Invitational basketball tournament.

The win brings the Braves current record to 8-1 on the season with the only loss coming at home to Lagrange. In Friday night’s game the Braves took over early and never relinquished the lead after an early 3-3 tie in the opening minutes.

Aaliyah Rutledge, who was named to the all-tourney team, dominated on the boards early and scored seven points in the first quarter to put the Lions in a 13-5 hole heading into the second.

The Braves extended the lead further as they went to the half with an 11 point lead. The Lions girls put forth a good effort in the second half and were able to keep the game close thanks to a couple of 3-pointers by Julia Gilley.

They were able to cut the lead all the way down to six after  a bucket by Shanese Bonner but they would not get any closer.

A steal and fast break lay-up by Shemeka Parks put the contest out of reach of the Lions who claimed the second place trophy.

Reece Walker, who led the Lady Braves in points with 14, was named as the tournament MVP. Walker averaged just under 19 points per game for the tourney.

Other big scorers were Shemeka Parks with 10 and Rutledge with 9.

“We were very excited to take this tournament title. Before the season, we made a list of 10 goals we wanted to achieve this year and tonight’s championship was the first.”-Braves Head Coach Valerie Williams

The Lady Braves will enjoy a few days off before returning to the court at home next Friday night (1/6) versus a region 5-AA  foe the Temple Tigers (6:00).

After a very fast start, the girls appear to be ready to make a strong run in the state playoffs this year. Aaliyah Rutledge has been instrumental inside so far and it appears lots of hard off-season work has paid off for her.

Reece Walker appears to be physically at 100 percent after her cheerleading injury. Another key to this team over last year’s is the depth of the bench.

Several girls have made solid contributions off the bench including Christina Cole, Whitney Emory, Tanisha Johnson, and Freshman Cali Harrod. Having these girls available to log minutes and rest the starters should be huge during the post season.

Last year’s team, which started the season with a 1-6 record, made the sweet sixteen before being ousted by the eventual state champion Buford Wolves.

On the men’s side the Braves once again struggled falling in the fifth place game to Bremen 56-31. Jonathan Hunt again led the scoring with 10. The Braves will also be back in action next Friday vs. Temple (7:30).

The organizers at Haralson County did an outstanding job putting on a super tournament and especially we give kudos to Seth Cain who did an excellent job announcing all of the games as well as keeping everyone apprised via the internet of the daily scores and happenings.

Tournament MVP: Reece Walker

All-Tournament Team: Aaliyah Rutledge

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