After experiencing mixed emotions following their contest against Howard, the Baldwin High Braves had much to celebrate about Friday night, as both basketball teams earned victories against West Laurens in front of a home crowd.
For the Bravettes, Friday’s game was about building confidence and that they did, toppling the Lady Raiders 57-47.
“It feels good to win, and it gives our players a lot of confidence,” Randall Owens, head coach, said. “We never doubt their effort because they are playing hard.”
Eleven ladies saw playing time on Friday, which allowed BHS to get contributions from everyone against West Laurens.
“We did very well. We played a good total team effort; we played 11 players and everyone contributed,” Owens said. “It was a good team win in that we were finally able to blend some youth with experience, and we came up with a good total team effort.”
The BHS squad was led in scoring by Jayla Waller who finished the night with 21 points and five rebounds, followed very closely by freshman Bria Reeves with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Terrian Williams also had a strong performance for the Bravettes with eight points, five assists and three rebounds against the Lady Raiders.
While the ladies provided a good offensive effort on Friday, Owens was equally impressed with their defense.
“West Laurens came in averaging 63 points a game and we held them to 47. We got our scoring up too, to 57 from what we did Tuesday night against Howard,” he said. “It was a good team win; very balanced. It was a great team win all the way around the board; great defensive effort.”
Following the women’s game, the men pulled off a decisive victory of their own, winning 61-54 over the Raiders.
Head coach Rechard Larkin believes Friday’s win against West Laurens proved to be a learning experience for he and his team.
“I’ll tell you this, there’s never a moment where you stop learning when you’re playing this game, or when you’re coaching this game,” Larkin said. “Tonight posed a different situation for us, but as I always say, ‘anytime you can get a win, you’re glad to get it.’”
The Braves were certainly glad to get it, as the team led 44-25 at the half only to allow the Raiders to score 29 points in the second half to creep back into the ball game.
“Certainly tonight was a learning experience for us. Actually, tonight was the first time that we went into the locker room at halftime with a lead,” Larkin said. “So, that’s something that we’ve got to press into our minds with our guys understanding how to play with a lead. You have to treat them both the same; you’ve got to be able to come out and play hard, regardless of what that score is, so we’re fortunate to get a win tonight.”
Marquis Williams continued to lead the team in scoring with 17 points, followed by Stetson Richardson and Tyree Solomon with nine apiece.
Though, the Braves struggled in the third quarter and much of the fourth, the team showed their potential down the stretch pulling out the victory.
“West Laurens, give them credit — they came back and battled. You know, they really cut it down to single digits and made a ball game out of it when it very well could have been easy to fold up,” Larkin said. “Again, we’re glad we were able to persevere under those circumstances and still come out with a ‘W’.”
BHS will continue its six-game stretch at home with Perry on Tuesday, Dec. 11 with the ladies getting things started at 6 p.m. and the men following at 7:30 p.m.