Braves fans were not sold short on exciting basketball Friday, as both Baldwin High teams took it right down to the wire at home against tough Veterans High teams.
Battling back from a 17-point deficit, the Bravettes nipped the Lady War Hawks 54-46 on Friday night.
“Initially, we were down 17-0, and that’s not the way we would like to start a basketball game, but to Veterans’ credit, they are a very good team,” Randall Owens, women’s head coach, said. “The key for us was turning up our defensive pressure, defensive intensity, and that’s what we preach to the players all the time. Once they started forcing turnovers they saw the fruits of their labor, and we were able to come back and win the basketball game.”
After letting Veterans get into a rhythm in the first half, BHS brought full-court pressure down the stretch to create turnovers and wear their opponent down.
“Veterans is a very methodical team, and they rely on precision and timing. We were able to throw them off their rhythm, which was able to force a lot of turnovers,” Owens said. “In the first half they were able to take their time, be patient and shoot a lot of jump shots, but we’ve told our players all year, just because a team is making jump shots in the first quarter, they won’t be making them in the fourth. For the fifth straight game, that has been the recipe.”
BHS was led offensively by a trio of Bravettes: Jayla Waller, Bria Reeves and Terrian Williams, each scoring in double figures. Waller finished with 18 points, Reeves with 15 and Williams had 12 in the contest.
Owens believes his team is maturing and gaining confidence that will help the Bravettes later in the season.
“I think it begins with confidence. Our players were down tonight 17-0, but I looked in their eyes and there wasn’t any doubt. They felt like there was a lot of basketball left to be played and they still had a chance,” he said. “Our players are starting to develop that confidence, and they believe in each other, they believe in the coaching staff; also the coaching staff believes in the players. They are showing a lot of maturity, a lot of grit, a lot of determination, so we’re very happy again, to win the basketball game.”