December 4, 2021

Braves look to bounce back from tough loss

Freshman Orren Rowley takes it to the rim during Friday night’s game at Callaway (Photo: Jeff Napier)

(Lagrange, GA) — The Heard County Braves will look to put a heart-breaking two point loss to rival Callaway behind them as they travel to Columbus this Tuesday night to meet Jordan in another Region 5-AA contest.

The Braves (6-11, 4-4) led most of the way Friday night in Lagrange before the Cavaliers (8-8, 7-1) would overcome a 12-point deficit to secure a big region win.

The Braves led 35-30 at the half before a 6-0 run would give the Cavs a lead early in the third quarter, but Coach Keith Simons’ squad would respond and go up 51-39 before the Cavs furious fourth quarter comeback.

Even after going down 61-58 Khalil Cofield would drain a 3-pointer to tie the game at 61-61, but in the end it was the home team that was able to pull off the dramatic come from behind victory.

After going down 63-61, the Braves had a chance to tie the game with under a minute to play but were unable to get a shot off and then failed on a hail mary shot after a missed free throw from the Cavs with just a few ticks on the clock.

Alijah Huzzie again led the scoring for the Braves with 23 points behind double figures in both the second and third quarters.

Freshman big man Orren Rowley had one of his best games of the season with eight points. Rounding out the scoring leaders were Will Hammett (7 pts.), Tray Dunson (6 pts.), and Komari Clark (6).

The Brave head coach was disappointed in the outcome but understands this can be a learning experience for his younger guys.

“It’s easy to forget sometime that Jameer Cook and Orren Rowley are just ninth graders. Khalil and Ayden are sophomores but they didn’t log many varsity minutes last year either,” said Simmons after the game. “You just have to look at a loss like this as a learning experience.”

Simmons says the team has to gain confidence in pressure situations when teams do try to take Huzzie out of a play as the Cavs did on the next to last possession where the Braves turned it over without getting off a shot.

“People are going to pressure us and try to take Huzzie out of the game. We have to be more confident if they do take Huzzie out that somebody else is going to be able to make a play,” added Simmons.

“We played hard but we have to learn that sometimes when it is going a certain way we have to play more even-keeled and level-headed. Hopefully we learn from this and it doesn’t happen again. It is better to have this happen now than in the region playoffs.”

The Braves face two road trips this week in Region 5-AA, traveling to Jordan Tuesday night and Lamar County on Friday night. Both games will tip around 7:30 PM or immediately following the girls’ games.

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