December 12, 2017

Lady Braves score road win in Douglasville

Head coach Helen Akins goes over strategy with her girls during Thursday’s 25-21 road win at Chapel Hill

(Douglasville, GA) — The Lady Braves (2-3) earned a hard-fought 25-21 road win at Chapel Hill Thursday to move to 2-3 on the young season.

After the game was tied 11-11 at the half, the Lady Braves built a 24-15 lead before the Panthers drained to from long range to close the gap to 24-21 with 11.3 seconds to go in the game.

A big free throw by senior Sage Kelley, however, would ice the win for Coach Helen Akins and her squad.

Junior Haley Bennett led the girls in scoring with 14 followed by freshman Sophia Long who tallied six points and sophomore Morgan Kay who scored four.

“We needed a win so bad tonight and against a big school that’s good, said Coach Akins after the game. “We didn’t shoot the ball real well tonight, but we’ve played a lot of games and had a lot of tough practices — but that’s just part of getting into game shape.”

Akins say defense was a big key in the win for her team which is much smaller after the graduation of big post players Hannah Sanders and Kimberly Harris last season.

“I am super proud of our effort on defense night in and night out these last couple of weeks. “We are always out-sized but we have been able to block out get position and not let people control the boards on us.”

Akins also lost two other outstanding seniors from the 2016 Region 5-AA Championship team, Alyssa Cosper and Ally Harris, meaning a lot of changes are necessary to the 2017 line-up and to the style of play in general because of the lack of size down low.

“It is really hard with as many changes as we have gone through and it is going to take us until region play in January to get fully acclimated to this new group and a whole new way of doing things.”

Akins hopes the combination of some of her experienced players like Sage Kelley can mesh with some new talent like freshman newcomer Sophia Long.

“Sage Kelley is such leader for this team. She’s always directing traffic on offense and on defense she’s a point guard playing post and working to stay out of foul trouble — she is a smart basketball player,” adds Akins.

“Sophia Long just brings a whole lot of energy — she’s a super kid doing a great job as a freshman having never played public school ball before. Morgan Kay has also shown lots of improvement in the early going this year.”

Akins says senior Alexis Nelms’ ball handling ability and leadership will be important on the team with only three seniors. One of those seniors, Emily Iddins, is out of the line-up indefinitely after off-season knee surgery.

The Lady Braves first win of the season came over Mount Zion in the holiday tournament at Bowdon. The Lady Braves downed the Eagles 63-26. Bennett led the scoring in that game as well with 16. Other top scorers were junior Ellie Googe with 10, sophomore Tori Caldwell with nine, and Kelley with nine.

The Lady Braves lit it up from beyond the arc with 10 three point baskets in a 48-41 loss at Starr’s Mill Tuesday. Kelley led the way with 14 in that contest. Sophia Long scored a total of 19 in the Lady Braves first two losses of the season at the Bowdon Tourney.

In boys’ action, Coach Keith Simmons and the Braves have struggled to an 0-5 start with most of the lineup still playing football.

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