BREC girls basketball team takes down Highlands on the road

Blue Ridge Early College girls varsity basketball team hopped a bus to take on Highlands last week for a game that came down to the final minutes, but BREC walked away with the win 42-37.

BREC Coach Tim Mayse said he thought the Lady Bobcats played great. He said both teams struggled towards the end of the close game, but that’s not surprising due to the nature of the rivalry between BREC and Highlands.

BREC Mayse Heltsley sets a pick for Mahalah Stewart while Highlands Bella Wilson (left) and Reese Schmitt try and stay with their mark.

“That’s a true rivalry game for sure,” said Mayse. “I thought our girls played very well against Highlands. They showed a lot of grit and determination. Playing a half-court game the entire time is really something we have struggled with in the past, but they did a great job sticking to the game plan the entire night.”

Highlands Hayley Borino makes her move to the hoop against BREC Mahalah Stewart.

Highlands Coach Brett Lamb said the Lady Highlanders made some good stops on defense but didn’t make enough shots. He added to BREC’s credit, the Lady Bobcats hit some tough, timely shots in the final minutes of the game.

“I think we played well in spirts,” said Lamb. “We have flashes of getting things going but couldn’t sustain it. We did fight to the end but couldn’t make the shots that we needed to when it counted. We relied too much on the 3-point shot and didn’t attack the basket enough.”

BREC Charlotte Sherrill checks out all options before driving the ball to the hoop.

High scorers for BREC include Charlotte Sherrill with 18 points and 13 rebounds, Mahalah Stewart had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Chloe Fowler had 4 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals; Macy Heltsley scored 3 points and snagged 7 rebounds, and Vanessa Russell had 2 points and 2 rebounds. Sherrill is averaging 23.9 points per game this year and was listed on’s watchlist, see more HERE.

Highlands Reese Schmitt cover BREC Mahalah Stewart last week.

The Lady Bobcats only had 6 players for last week’s game against Highlands because of athletes in quarantine, but Mayse said they should be getting players back by the end of this week.

“I think only having 6 players is more of a mental challenge than a physical one for our players,” said Mayse. “We don’t have much depth and it doesn’t matter to us if our opponent is deep. You still have to play us 5v5. I think staying out of foul trouble and not being able to push the tempo weighs on their minds more than the conditioning aspect of the game.”

BREC Chloe Fowler keeps the ball moving around the perimeter against Highlands.

He added that it’s always a close game when playing Highlands.

“Since I’ve been the girls’ coach at Blue Ridge [2014], we have had 15 out of 21 games with Highlands decided by 10 points or less,” said Mayse. “So, you know it’s going to be a close game and it always comes down to who is going to make plays consistently in the end.”

Highlands Bella Wilson puts 2 on the board against BREC.

High scorers for Highlands include Bella Wilson-9, Hayley Borino-7, and Reese Schmitt-6. Highlands Julia May Schmitt had 5 rebounds.

Highlands Julia May Schmitt keeps the pressure on BREC Charlotte Sherrill.

BREC Macy Heltsley grabs the rebound and brings the ball down court.

Highlands Ava Schmitt keeps the ball moving against BREC.

BREC Chloe Fowler scans the court while defending Highlands Bella Wilson.

Highlands Ava Schmitt works to box out BREC Macy Heltsley.

Highlands Bella Branham drives along the baseline.

BREC Vanessa Russell dishes the ball off on the road against Highlands.

Highlands B Bryson on a fast break against BREC.

BREC Mahalah Stewart sets up the play on the road against Highlands.

BREC Vanessa Russell jumps to block a shot by Highlands Reese Schmitt.

From left are BREC Mahalah Stewart, Highlands Ava Schmitt, BREC Macy Heltsley, and BREC Chloe Fowler watching the ball roll along the rim waiting for it to drop.

Highlands Bella Wilson brings the ball down court against BREC.

BREC’s starting 5 steps onto the court in during the final minutes of the game. From left are Charlotte Sherrill, Mahalah Stewart, Vanessa Russell (back), Chloe Fowler, and Macy Heltsly.

BREC brought 6 players to the game against Highlands last week. The Lady Bobcats sixth player was Kimberly Rodriguez, who snags a rebound and brings the ball down court.

Highlands Ava Schmitt finds herself in a tough position with BREC Chloe Fowler sticking to her mark.

BREC Coaches from left are Tim Mayse and Elijah Reece.

Highlands Coach Brett Lamb breaks down a strategy in the final minutes against BREC.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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