May 17, 2021

Home stretch for Heard High Hoops

Sophia Long guard’s the ball handler during Tuesday night’s blowout win over Jordan (Photo: Jeff Napier)

(Franklin, GA) — The Heard High boys and girls basketball teams are gearing up for the postseason this week with two final region matchups  to close out the regular season ahead of next week’s Region 5-AA Championship tournament in Columbus.

The squads will host the Temple Tigers Tuesday for Senior Night in Franklin and will travel to Columbus to meet the Spencer Friday. Spencer will also be the location of next week’s tournament based on the Greenwave boys having already secured the top seed.

The Braves and Lady Braves each split the last two games with both winning over Jordan at home Tuesday night and both falling to Lamar County in Barnesville Friday night.

The Lady Braves defeated the Lady Red Jackets in blowout fashion at HCHS winning 58-9 in a game that was a rout from the beginning.

Sophia Long led the scoring with 17 while Zekylah Boyd also reached double digits with 12 points.

Coach Helen Akins was able to play a lot of the younger girls with almost the entire roster scoring at least a point.

The Braves edged the Red Jackets Tuesday night in a much closer game after a couple of clutch late free throws from D.J. Herring. The big man was an impressive 6-for-6 from the foul line while scoring eight points overall.

Ayden Cannon and Ike O’Neal led the Braves in scoring with 16 and 12 respectively. Khalil Cofield scored five while Chance Curbow added four.

At Lamar County Friday night, the Lady Braves fell to the Trojans 63-53 after a brutal start to the game that left them trailing 23-7 after the first quarter.

Despite the horrible start, the Lady Braves showed a tremendous amount of heart as they went on an 18-4 run of their own and trailed by just five points at the half.

Coach Akins was extremely pleased about the strong fight put forth by her squad in response to the adversity of being down 16 points after the first quarter on the road.

“The way they fought back in that second quarter had me in tears on the sidelines,”said Akins after the game. “I was just in awe of their resilience and effort. I could not have been more proud!”

The Lady Braves kept it close in the second half before the Trojans were able to pull away in the end. Three Lady Braves scored in double digits including Boyd who notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Freshman Will Alford (#2) and sophomore D.J. Herring defending during Tuesday night’s win over Jordan (Photo: Jeff Napier)

Other double digit scorers were Jasmine Owens with 12 and Morgan Kay with 11. Tori Caldwell and Sophia Long each had eight apiece.

The Braves fell to the Trojans 48-41 in a game that was close throughout. Cofield had a big night for the Braves scoring 18 while Herring had 13.

Head coach said after the game that despite the many improvements shown by his young squad they still have a lot to learn.

“We’ve just got to learn how to compete. We come out slow too often and a lot of that is just understanding that every team despite their record can play,” said Smith.

“We’re not good enough to just walk in and roll the ball out and beat people.”

At this point, the playoff picture for the Lady Braves is much clearer than that of the Braves.

Barring any major upsets over the last two games, the Lady Braves will most likely be the No. 2 seed behind the Trojans and if that is the case would play in a semifinal game at 4:00 PM at Spencer on Thursday, February 6.

The Region 5-AA Championship game for the girls will be on Saturday, February 8 at 6:00 PM at Spencer.

With a No. 2 seed the Lady Braves would earn an automatic state playoff berth.

The Braves will most likely end up as the No. 4 or No. 5 seed in the tourney depending on this week’s outcomes meaning mos likely they would play next Tuesday night in a game that would be played a the No. 3 seed’s home court — likely Temple or Callaway.

The boys semifinals will also be played at Spencer on Thursday, February 6 at 5:30 PM and 8:30 PM.

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