The 2018-2019 West Georgia Middle School Champion Lady Braves players, coaches, and cheerleaders at HCMS following the title win over Villa Rica (Photo: Heard Middle Braves on Facebook)
(Franklin, GA) — The Heard County Middle School Lady Braves basketball team closed out a phenomenal undefeated season by capturing a West Georgia Middle School Championship Saturday at Villa Rica Middle School in Carroll County.
After knocking off Bowdon 47-24 in the tourney semifinals on Thursday, the Lady Braves dominated the tournament hosting Lady Wildcats in the title game winning by a final score of 55-22.
The margin of victory was especially impressive considering the Lady Braves had only managed to win the two previous regular season meetings versus the Cats by a total of eight points.
A near packed house in Villa Rica saw a close game early that the Braves led just 11-9 after a quarter before an 18-6 run in the second quarter gave the Lady Braves a 29-15 lead.
In the second half the route was on as a suffocating Lady Brave defensive attack would allow the Cats just seven points.
Just as they had in the semifinals and all season long the terrific tandem of Jasmine Owens and Jayden Boykin were stellar in the title tilt.
Owens led all scorers with 18 points and was a force grabbing rebounds under both baskets. She was consistent scoring eight in the first half and 10 in the second half.
The Cats had no answer for an aggressive Boykin as she would get to the foul line for 14 free throw attempts. She scored 11 of her 17 points in the second half. Boykin, likely a D-1 prospect, is only a seventh grader and already one of the most imposing players ever seen at the middle school level in the West Georgia area. Opposing teams struggled all season long to deal with her physicality.
7th grader Jayden Boykin scored 17 in the title game
It wasn’t just a two girl show, however, this season as a host of talented players filled out the roster for head coach Shaqueri Talmadge.
Samantha Williams and Carmaya Swint were both major factors this season and each scored six points in Saturday’s big game while Amaya Hammel added five and Brooklyn Curbow scored four.
Shyann Kelley was excellent defensively and the young group consisting of Aubrey Crockett, Callie Senn, Natalie Schneider, Jessica Cato closed out the fourth quarter effort to seal the championship win.
Coach Talmadge was clearly pleased with the performance of her team and the unblemished 14-0 record for the season.
“These girls wanted this championship and they worked extremely hard at practice to get it — they deserve this championship and I’m super proud of them,” said Talmadge after the game. “They played their best game of the year today and we couldn’t ask for anything better! This is a special group of girls, and they will do great things in the future. We will celebrate tonight and get to work for next season starting next week.”
The Middle School Champs returned to HCMS after the game where they cut down the net to celebrate the huge accomplishment. It was the first middle school championship for the Lady Braves since 2013 when they won the third in four years under Heard County Hall of Fame coach Kathy Scott.
In boys’ action, the top-seeded Braves bid for a third straight title came to an abrupt halt when they suffered a 55-54 upset in the semifinals by a hot-shooting Mt. Zion squad that went on to take the boys championship from the No. 4 seed. Jonathan Echols led the Braves with 12 points in the loss.