(Franklin, GA) — The 2019-2020 basketball season got underway this week at Heard County High School as the Lady Braves traveled to Villa Rica Thursday for a tough season opener versus a Wildcat squad that finished as the State Runner-ups in Class AAAAA last season.
The Lady Braves were battling some early season illness and injuries but fought hard in a 74-32 loss to the Cats.
A bright spot in the game for Coach Helen Akins and the Lady Braves was a solid effort off the bench from freshman Jasmine Owens. Owens played a lot of minutes in the game and led the team in her first ever varsity action with eight points and eight rebounds.
Senior Morgan Kay finished with seven points, three rebounds, and two assists. Juniors Lynsey Glover and Hermonie Garza each tallied four points.
The Lady Braves were without sophomore starter Zekylah “Z” Boyd who suffered a sprained ankle in a home scrimmage versus Mt. Zion Tuesday night in Franklin.
The Lady Braves won that scrimmage 55-51. Kay had a big night in the scrimmage with 18 points and four 3-point baskets. Junior Sophia Long scored 13 and senior Tori Caldwell had 11.
“We knew Villa Rica was going to be a tough but we scheduled to help us get better and identify the things we need to work on,” said Coach Helen Akins after the game. “I was pleased with how we played and our effort in the end, but thought we could have showed better effort early in the game.”
Akins was also excited about the performance of Owens and says she actually has a couple of freshman she expects to see lots of court time this season.
“Jasmine Owens is a worker bee and she is going to help us a lot down the stretch,” says Akins. “Another of our freshman, Shyann Kelley, was dealing with some stomach issues and she’s not quite been herself but she has been working really hard at practice and I expect her to give us a lot of minutes going forward.”
Freshman Jasmine Owens had 8 points and 8 rebounds at Villa Rica Thursday night (Photo: Penny Hood/HCHS)
The sixth year Lady Brave coach has just two seniors on the roster.
“Tori Caldwell and Morgan Kay are our lone seniors but you’ve got to love them both — they are such great leaders and such hard workers.”
The remainder of the varsity roster includes junior Briana Labaff, sophomore Mykhia Echols, and freshmen Amaya Hammel and Brooklyn Curbow.
Josh Cooley and Shaqueri are handing the assistant coaching duties for the 2019-2020 Lady Braves.
The boys team led by first year head coach Derek Smith did not play a regular season game last week but did face Mt. Zion in a scrimmage Tuesday night. Despite missing numerous players who are still playing football, the squad played well in a 59-51 loss that went to overtime.
Junior Kahlil Cofield led the scoring for the Braves with 16 points including three buckets from beyond the arc. Chance Curbow also had a solid night with 11 points as did Ty Smith who scored seven.
Freshman Erozinis “RoRo” Edmondson, Jr. had a solid performance in the scrimmage with nine points including a 3-point basket.
Coach Smith was pleased with the such a strong performance despite the lack of experience in the short-handed line-up.
“I was really impressed since other than Kahlil Cofield and Jameer Cook none of these guys came in with varsity playing experience so for some of them this is a step up from middle school basketball and the varsity game is so much faster,” Smith stated after the scrimmage. “We made some mental mistakes, but we now have a chance to look at film and get some of those things corrected.”
Smith says he is really enjoying his first year at Heard County High School.
“I love it here it is just a fantastic work environment. One of the things I really like and it may sound silly or like it’s not a big deal but every Friday myself and some of the other teachers on the hall always eat lunch together. I just really appreciate that camaraderie — it’s just something I’ve never experienced at any of the other schools I’ve worked at.”
The Braves and Lady Brave both face home openers versus Oak Mountain Academy Tuesday night in Franklin. The girls tip at 6:00 PM followed by the boys at 7:30 PM.