Blue Ridge Early College girls varsity basketball team hit the road on Wednesday and beat Swain in an epic battle down to the wire with a final 87-82.
BREC Coach Tim Mayse said the girls played hard the entire game.
“Mahalah took over the game with her ability to drive to the basket,” said Mayse. “Charlotte made clutch shots from the field. Maddy and Chloe did a great job of getting to the basket and pulling down rebounds. Macy, Mercedes, Hannah, and Brenda did a great job of providing support on the offensive and defensive sides of the court. We relied heavily on everyone to win this game.”
Mayse added the Lady Bobcats were able to keep the lead throughout the second quarter and did a great job of attacking the rim, getting to the free throw line, and making free throws. Not to mention some clutch shots when Swain was attempting to mount a comeback.
Mayse said Swain’s #24 Mazie Helpman scored 42 points and was tough to stop with her ability to drive and shoot the three-pointer. He added on the plus side, BREC Mahalah Stewart could not be stopped scoring a career high 34 points and sinking some critical free throws in the final minute.
“I was so nervous taking those free throws,” said Stewart. “We’d pretty much win if I made them, I felt like I had to. Throughout the whole game we were good on defense and offense and moved the ball a lot.”
BREC Macy Heltsley said Swain had a deeper bench than the Lady Bobcats but they handled it well.
“I kept telling myself I can’t foul out, and I went a while before I actually did,” said Heltsley. “Overall I think we did good. No matter where we play, we just got to get our game face on.”
Stewart’s sister BREC Charlotte Sherrill said they played as a team and never gave up.
“We just continued to drive to the basket, and we made almost all of our free throws,” said Sherrill. “That kept us in the game.”
Sherrill recently joined the 1,000-point club and was recognized as Maxpreps Region 3 Player of the Week. Each week MaxPreps and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) select athletes who have had recent outstanding performances. Click HERE to learn more.
“It’s awesome to be recognized,” said Sherrill. “It’s a feeling I’ve never really had before, it’s exciting.”
Mayse said earning the MaxPreps honor is a big deal. While not a common occurrence at BREC or other schools in the area, BREC has had players recognized on a national level before.
In 2015, Estefano Ramirez earned MaxPreps national player of the week honors in soccer for scoring 9 goals in two games. In 2016, Noah Pressler led the nation in assists in soccer as well.
“What’s cool about Charlotte’s award is that Region 3 in MaxPreps/WBCA covers all high schools in the Washington D.C. area, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia,” said Mayse. “So, she was chosen out of all these players for her outstanding performances in the Nantahala and Brevard games where she averaged 30.5 ppg and 10 rpg for those two games.”
Mayse added that he and the BREC coaching staff are proud of the girls.
“This team has a ton of heart and character, and they work hard every day in practice to be able to compete with any team we play,” he said.
BREC next plays tomorrow at 5 p.m. at home against Hiwassee Dam.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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