November 29, 2020

Elite Performance Keeps the Dream Alive for the Lady Braves

A standing room only crowd jam-packed the Heard High School gymnasium Tuesday night to witness a thrilling 66-62 overtime victory over the Calhoun Lady Jackets in the Sweet 16 round of the Georgia High School playoffs.

The fans in attendance on both sides of the court were treated to a remarkably well-played game which featured an astounding 14 ties and 19 lead changes.

On this night the stakes were high and so were the tensions as both teams had eyes firmly planted on making the Elite 8, something no Heard County basketball team has achieved in the past 25 years.

From the opening tip it was clear this game would be intense as two teams with very different styles competed. The Jackets looked to use the large size difference inside while the Braves looked to take advantage of their speed and defensive press.

The Calhoun girls actually handled the press very well most of the night and Aaliyah Rutledge worked hard to try to slow down the bigger Jacket center Taylor Palmer.

The junior Yellow Jacket used her biggest advantage over Rutledge, her height all night long but the Braves center battled her hard all night long. Palmer led all scorers on the evening with 29 while Rutledge led the Braves with 18.

Again the Braves used a balance scoring attack as four girls finished in double figures. In addition to Rutledge, Jemeka Parks finished with 16, Jasmine Cook with 15, and Reece Walker with 10. Cook also added a game high 14 rebounds.

Lady Braves defeat Calhoun 66-62 in OT Thriller from on Vimeo.

The largest lead by either team came at the end of the first quarter with the Braves up 21-15. After nursing a slim three-point advantage at the half, the Braves relinquished the lead to the Jackets in the third when a bucket by Palmer put the Jackets out front 35-34.

The entire rest of the game would be a battle of wills by both squads as the lead seemingly changed with every possession.

With time winding down under 15 seconds in regulation Jasmine Cook scored a fast-break basket to put the Braves up by two but Calhoun answered with a bucket of their own which sent the game to overtime.

The Calhoun girls played so well tonight. Some shots went our way and some shots didn’t go their way. Sometimes basketball is as much about luck as it is skill. I am very happy with our girls tonight and cannot wait to meet Buford Friday night.~ Valeree Williams

In overtime, two big short-range baskets by Rutledge sealed the huge 66-62 win for the Lady Braves. The Lady Braves will now travel to face the three-time defending state champion Buford Wolves who defeated North Oconee 53-45 Tuesday night.

The neutral site game will be played at the Northwest Georgia Trade Center in Dalton Friday at 7:00p.m.  Stay tuned to for the game preview which will include all important info about the quarterfinal match-up with the Wolves.



  • The Lady Braves finished 13-1 in home games this year.
  • Sammy Burden was ejected from the gym after getting “passionate” with a referee late in regulation.
  • Sheriff Ross Henry will be providing the girl’s pre-game meal Friday on the way to Dalton.
  • A Charter Bus ($15/person depart HHS at 2:00pm) may be available to the game Friday- Call Jennifer at (706)594-5046 for more information.
  • The Lady Braves defeated Buford 4o-36 in the Elite 8 in 1987.
  • Coach Williams parents and grandmother flew up from Florida for the recent playoff games. 
  • Because of humidity the run through banner did not dry and was unable to be used before the game
  • The HHS choir again sang a wonderful National Anthem before the game





  1. Janet Person says

    Way to go Lady Braves! I am so proud of each and every one of you. Keep up the good work. There are great rewards in store for you. It was best said by Pat Summit, “When a team takes ownership, good things happen.” Stay focused and remain strong. RESPECT ALL, FEAR NONE!

  2. Robert and Phyllis Horsley says

    Way to go Lady Braves! We Love you all. Remember: In order to have a winner, the team must have a feeling of unity; every player must put the team first-ahead of personal glory-Paul Bear Bryant.


  3. Jennifer Parks says

    Keep up the good work Lady Braves and GOOD LUCK.


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