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Sims Leads Butler Past #6 Josey after Bulldogs Withstand Furious Run

Josey head coach Jawan Bailey explains what it’s like managing his way through unprecedented circumstances after a 31 day forced break from game play.

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#23 Jayla Thomas – Butler 

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Butler 139111043
Josey 10571840

    Butler – Lauren Braddy 1 1-2 4, Jamesha Slater 0 1-2 1, Jayla Thomas 10 0-1 20, Markera Tarver 2 0-0 5, Brionna Sims 6 1-2 13. Totals: 19 3-7 43.

    Josey – JaCayla Shorty 1 1-4 3, Arieonna Booker 3 1-3 7, Deajah Houck 3 3-4 12, Jamirah Mitchell 2 1-2 7, Ky’Shonna Brown 0 1-2 1, Mercedes Dames 3 1-2 7, Laura Jarrett 1 0-4 3. Totals: 13 7-21 40

Three-point goals – Butler: 2 (Braddy, Tarver). Josey: 6 (Houck 3. Mitchell 2, Jarrett). 

Butler topped #6 Josey 43-30 in region competition Tuesday behind a game high 20 points by Jayla Thomas and 13 from Brionna Sims. The Lady Bulldogs improved to 3-3 overall and 2-0 in region play. Josey, which was led in scoring by senior Deajah Houck, who scored 12 points and made 3 three pointers, fell to 2-4 for the season in dropping its region opener.

The Bulldogs led the entire final 26 minutes and withstood a 17-6 run by Josey that began right after Sims scored in the paint on a baseline out of bounds play with 6:28 remaining in the fourth quarter that put Butler ahead 35-22, its largest lead of the game. Josey stormed back into contention and eventually cut the deficit to 41-39 with 1:40 remaining when Jamirah Mitchell nailed a three pointer from the left wing. But Sims immediately halted Josey’s run with a layup on the other end that was assisted by Lauren Braddy.

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“Jayla has been working hard over the break,” said second year head coach Eboni Fields about Thomas. “She was in the right place at the right times, and our guards did a good job finding her.”

Josey head coach Jawan Bailey also praised both Thomas and Sims, as well as Fields, on Twitter after the game.

“These two young ladies played great ball tonight,” Bailey tweeted about Thomas and Sims. “Coach Eboni Fields is a childhood friend of mine, and she’s doing a great job with this program.”

Given the shadow that the current stage of the pandemic has cast over the basketball season, with more games seemingly being postponed or canceled than played as planned, Bailey’s tone in our post game texting interview seemed most appropriate. He described his long time friendship with Fields, and he thoughtfully explained why Tuesday’s result was far less important to his players, and to him, than the fact that they actually had the chance to play at all, after being out of action for 31 days before Tuesday. And he also conveyed the anxiety that he feels, that many of us feel, about playing at all right now, because of the events around us, while at the same time understanding how much the sport means to his players.

Jawan Bailey on opposing coach and on playing after a 31 day forced break:

Eboni and I go back to Kindergarten at C.T. Walker. We spent 9 years attending school together. Some of her closest friends are my closest friends. If I’m going to lose to anybody I prefer it to be to her, lol.

But yes! This loss doesn’t sting as much because we were excited to just get back on the court for competition. 31 days without a game and you’re going to struggle against a good team like Butler. My girls showed heart at the end not giving up and I’m just excited to see them competing again. 

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We just hope and pray we get a chance to build on this. My emotions juggle daily because even though I know the risk for my players and their families for some of them playing basketball is the best part of their day. For my seniors they will never get the opportunity to be a high school b-ball player again. I try and find peace in knowing we take every measure we can to be safe and still give these kids some type of normalcy.

Because for some time now there have seemed to be no good answers for the health problem we face, the hopes and prayers Bailey referred to are what all of us who want the best for the players are left with to manage our way through these unprecedented times.

Entertainment

[Livestream] Evans Hosts Effingham Co. in State Playoff Showdown

Evans battles Effingham in Round 1 of the Georgia 6A State Playoffs. Live from Evans High.

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[Livestream] Grovetown vs Evans in Region Battle for Playoff Position

Evans hosts Grovetown and looks to avenge their buzzer beater loss to the Warriors on January 22nd.

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“Sophomore Malik Ferguson picked up a loose ball in the middle of the paint with one second remaining, and right before the fourth quarter buzzer sounded, he released a shot that found its mark to give Grovetown 61-60 win over Evans Friday, a result that threw the top spot in the class 6A, region 5 standings into a three way tie between Grovetown, Evans and Heritage to mark the beginning of the stretch run for the league’s regular season championship. Ferguson’s shot came at the end of a full court dash by Grovetown after head coach Darren Douglas was able to draw up a play during a timeout that was meant to result in a bucket in only six seconds. The play was designed for senior Zach Bell, who eventually fumbled the ball after spinning between defenders at the end of a drive that began near half court after he gathered the ball from freshman Derrion Reid.”

That was Chad Cook’s rundown of the instant classic that these two teams played two weeks ago. That win by Grovetown sets up a must-win scenario for Evans as they look to maintain their footing in the race for a region championship.

Be sure to get your ? ready early because if tonight’s game is as exciting as the last one, you just might forget those jokers altogether!

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Streams will be posted here. Tip-off times are as follows:
Girls – 6:30 PM
Boys – 8:00 PM

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