July 28, 2021

Lady Braves still eye top seed despite disappointing loss to Tigers

Jasmine Cook gets ready for the opening tip against the much bigger Ariel Butts

The Lady Braves had hoped to clinch the top seed in Region 5-AA Tuesday night with a win over the Carver Tigers at Hardaway High School in Columbus.

Instead they walked away with a heartbreaking 77-73 loss in overtime in a game which featured several scoring runs by both teams.

The Tigers jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the game before the Braves bounced back to close the quarter on a 17-5 run and gained a two point advantage.

The Braves continued to play an aggressive press defense in the second quarter and led by five at halftime but the fouls were adding up quickly.

Jemeka Parks fouled out halfway through the third quarter with four points scored. Aaliyah Rutledge, who was charged with the arduous task of matching up against Ariel Butts picked up her fourth foul early in the third which definitely slowed her effectiveness.

Butts, a 6 foot 3 inch stand-out with a large frame is already signed to a scholarship with Rutgers University. Despite the size difference Rutledge continued her extremely hot hand with 16 first half points and several big rebounds.

With one of the Parks out of action, the Tigers pulled within one point at the end of the third quarter. After falling behind by one point in the fourth quarter, the Braves went on a 10-0 run and held a nine-point advantage with just over three minutes to play.

The big cushion would not last long when Dymon Brown drained a 3-pointer to bring the Tigers back. Carver relied heavily on six made shots outside the arc to keep this one close. Walker had a good look at the basket near the end of regulation but couldn’t get it to go down so the game moved to overtime.

Jemeka Parks puts up an early 3-pointer

An 11-7 run in overtime by the Tigers put the Braves away for good 77-73.

Jasmine Cook led the Braves scoring with 24 followed by Rutledge with 22 and Walker with 16. Butts led Carver with 27.

All is not lost for the Braves who still carry a one game lead over the Tigers and can still clinch the top seed with wins at home this weekend over both Callaway and Manchester.

If they win those two games the Lady Braves will host the Region 5-AA finals next Thursday and Friday at HHS.

Seeding will be very important as a match-up with a very strong Region 6-AA looms in round one of the state playoffs.

In the boys game, the Braves came out strong and actually led 12-10 after the first quarter but once again struggled late and were defeated 71-36. Jonathon Hunt led the way with 15 points.

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