(Franklin, GA) — The Heard County boy’s varsity basketball team scored a gritty 52-48 region opening win over rival Callaway Tuesday night at home.
The rematch from last season’s region title game looked much different with several players from both teams having moved on.
Coach Keith Simmons’ squad battled back from a seven point halftime deficit and built a lead of 12 late in the fourth quarter before the Cavs battled back to close the lead just two points with 12.3 seconds to go in the game.
Junior Tray Dunson (#2) battles for a rebound during the Braves region win over Callaway Tuesday night in Franklin
A couple of key free throws from junior Alijah Huzzie, however, would ice the win and move the Braves to 1-0 in region action. Huzzie was four of six from the line with 14 points and Tray Dunson again led the Braves in scoring with 16 points.
Darius Matthews also had a nice game scoring 10 while Khalil Cofield added five including an important 3-point basket that tied the game at 33-33 to end the third period.
The Braves outscored the Cavs 19-12 in that third quarter.
Coach Simmons was pleased to see his young team get the W in the first game of the important region slate.
“The up and down flow of this game comes with us just being young — not just having guys that are young in grade but young in varsity experience,” said Simmons after the game.
“We didn’t box out well in the first half and that’s what gave them the early lead. We made some adjustments at the half and boxed out better — Huzzie, Tray, and Will Hammett were much better on the boards and those non second chance shots were the difference,” added Simmons.
“We are so small we cannot afford to not box out. We have to worry about technique and not results. If you are in the results business you’ll never be consistent but if you focus on technique you’ll always be consistent. That’s what we’ve been preaching all year — very proud of how these guys played tonight.”
In girls action the Lady Braves battled back from a 14 point deficit late in the third but were unable to overcome the Lady Cavs in a 53-48 loss.
A 4-point play from Haley Bennett closed it to 47-45 with 2:35 to go in the game and a clutch three from Sage Kelley cut the lead to 49-48 with 1:21 to play before the visitors pulled away.
Bennett led the scoring with 20 and Kelley had 10 including three from long range in the fourth quarter.
Freshman Sophia long had a nice effort with eight and senior Alexis Nelms had seven. The Lady Braves had six 3-point shots in the fourth quarter to keep it close.
Both teams will be back in region action this Friday when they travel to Jordan in Columbus. The teams return home next Tuesday night to host Temple.