EDITOR’S NOTE: The COVID-19 pandemic closed local schools before they could hold their banquets honoring winter sports student-athletes, so coaches have agreed to announce postseason team award recipients here in the newspaper. We’re kicking off our coverage this weekend with Baldwin High School boys basketball, girls basketball, wrestling and basketball cheerleading.
The Baldwin High School girls basketball team hit some high highs and some low lows throughout the 2019-20 season.
The Bravettes had themselves a six-game winning streak stretching from mid- to late January and earned the right to compete for the Region 3-4A championship. There they fell to Cross Creek, meaning Baldwin would enter the 4A state tournament as a No. 2 seed. Their opponent wound up being Dougherty High School out of southwest Georgia, and it was in that game where the Bravettes saw their season come to a tragic end. BHS head coach Kizzi Walker believes some calls went against her team late in that matchup, but she also knows her team put itself in the position to lose in such a way. The BHS girls did not capitalize on their opportunities to pull away early, leaving the door open for Dougherty to win on a buzzer-beating putback.
“I think we were robbed at the end, however, it should not have been that close in the first place,” Walker said. “So it’s our fault.”
Nevertheless, the Baldwin girls finished up with a stout 19-9 record to go along with a 6-2 mark in regular season region play to give the program its third straight winning season under Walker and fifth straight overall. While the year did not end the way the team wanted, the Bravettes did show that they continue to produce one of the more consistent programs across the state.
Coach Walker and her staff announce the following postseason team awards for the Bravettes following the 2019-20 campaign.
Most Valuable Player and Hustle Award: Dasia Harden
Walker says the MVP award determination was a close call between two players for her and her staff. In the end, the team went as Harden did and so the honor was given to her. As for the Hustler Award, that pretty well speaks for itself.
“When we looked back, Dasia was more the leader of the team,” Walker said of the MVP selection. “If she came out and played hard, the rest of the team would play hard. If she was in a slump, then the rest of the girls were too. I felt like her leadership made her our team MVP for this season.”
Harden averaged 10.8 points per game her final season as a Bravette while also contributing better than two steals, rebounds and assists a night.
Offensive Player of the Year/Best 3-point Shooter/Highest Academic Award: Tamia Smith
In just her sophomore season, guard Tamia Smith led the Bravettes in scoring with 359 points on the season, good for a 12.8 per-game average. Smith was also tops on the team in terms of three-point shooting at 27 percent, and will likely be looked to serve as one of the leaders next season.
Defensive Player of the Year: Tykeidra Jackson
Senior Tykeirdra Jackson has been a defensive standout all throughout her varsity career. Night in and night out she would go step-for-step with opponents’ top threats and stop them in their tracks with her active hands and fluid movement. If she did not have her hands up ready to deflect a pass you could often find her on the floor fighting for the basketball. Jackson finished her final high school season with 94 steals and 43 deflections on the defensive end of the floor.
Best Rebounder/Best Free Throw Shooter/Best Shot Blocker: Mikayla Waller
Senior Mikayla Waller served as the team’s top threat down in the post as she came close to averaging a double-double with over nine points and eight rebounds per game. Her rebounding total stood at 221 for the year and she had one block per game defensively. Waller also did not fall into the category of one of those post players who can’t shoot from the free-throw line as she shot 67 percent from the stripe this past season.
Other BHS girls varsity postseason team awards are:
- Most Improved - Tykeisha Thornton;
- Bravette Award - Ashley Johnson;
- Sixth Man Award - Nykeisha Thornton; and
- Dedication Award - Zonilya Wilson.
Coach Walker and her staff also announce the following junior varsity honors:
- MVP - Angelise Ka’la Hicks;
- Offensive Player of the Year - Nevaeh Rayne Ford;
- Defensive Player of the Year - Jazmine Walker;
- Most Improved - Sasha Ross;
- Bravette Award - Armoni Hawkins;
- Sixth Man Award - JaLuyah Callaway;
- Best Rebounder - Jazmine Walker;
- Dedication Award - Angelise Ka’la Hicks;
- Best Free Throw Shooter - Adaya Griffin;
- Best 3-point Shooter - Nevaeah Rayne Ford;
- Hustle Award - Shelby Ross;
- Best Shot Blocker - Daesha Liggins; and
- Highest Academic - Angelise Ka’la Hicks.
The Bravettes lose three very productive seniors in Harden, Jackson and Waller who have started for Coach Walker all three years she’s been the Baldwin girls head coach. She feels confident though that with new girls coming into the program from Oak Hill that the team can reload rather than rebuild.
“I feel pretty good about the future. The newcomers from the middle school and our returners I think give us at shot at going further than we’ve gone since I've been coaching. Hopefully these eighth-graders can come and fill some shoes, but I’m surely going to miss my seniors. I really am. I wish I could get them for one more year.”