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LOCAL COLLEGE BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Lady Rams — playing with heavy hearts in remembrance of Bradley — wins first game of season Sunday

ASU volleyball coach Robert Skinner

ASU volleyball coach Robert Skinner

FORT VALLEY — Opening the season with two straight losses was painful enough for the Albany State women’s basketball team, but nothing prepared the Lady Rams for what they learned prior to Game No. 3.

Before tipping off with Georgia Southwestern on Sunday in a conference crossover tournament, ASU coach Robert Skinner and the Lady Rams learned of the death of longtime ASU Sports Information Director Edythe Bradley — shocking news to a coach and a team that worked side-by-side with the beloved SID.

With heavy hearts, the Lady Rams pulled away from the Lady Hurricanes in the second half for a 61-48 victory that meant a little more to Skinner and his team than an ordinary W.

“Everybody was mourning the loss of Edythe,” Skinner said. “It was an inspirational win and an emotional win. A lot of the girls had been around and knew Ms. Bradley really well. They feel the pain of the loss.”

Tournament officials held a moment of silence before the game and read a statement of appreciation for all Bradley had done in her 16 years as SID at ASU, and Skinner led his team in prayer before the tip-off.

“I tried to keep it as light as possible for those who did not know her or weren’t connected to her,” Skinner said. “But at the same time you wanted them to understand what she meant and how important she was to our program and all she has done for Albany State.”

No doubt, she would have been proud of the Lady Rams’ effort on the court Sunday afternoon.

They outrebounded GSW, 58-36, and had three players score in double figures for the first time this season to improve to 1-2 overall.

“The win couldn’t have come at a better time,” Skinner said. “I feel like we were playing good basketball, but we were playing some good teams and just couldn’t get it together. We came together at the right time (Sunday).”

Bainbridge native and star guard April Thomas led the Lady Rams with 18 points — 15 of which came in the second half — while Nicole Wilson and Amber McKenzie added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Camilla native Kedeemya Cooper added a game-high 14 rebounds for ASU.

GSW (0-5) was led by Shaniece Sheffield’s 15 points and six steals, while Danisha Green added 13 points.

The Lady Rams lost Saturday’s tournament game against Columbus State, 75-66, despite a career-high 18 points from Cooper and 11 points from Wilson.

LADY CAVS ROLL: Darton women’s basketball coach Lea Henry said she barely even glanced at the scoreboard during Saturday’s 100-15 win against Southern Crescent Tech.

She was too focused on her players’ effort on the court.

“We weren’t really watching the score,” Henry said. “We were trying to give different people playing time, and then at the end you look up and see the score.

“At the same time, you have to let your kids play and work on some things. We have a big game this week, and it was more about preparing for (Wednesday’s game against Central Georgia Tech).”

The Lady Cavs (7-1) are winners of five in a row, and all five of those victories have been lopsided.

Five players scored in double figures for the Lady Cavs, including freshman point guard Jasmine Wilson, who had 18 points, four assists and four steals. Tamarah Fisher (16 points), Vanessa Akra (13 points), Shronica Weaver (13 points) and Michelle Mitchell (12 points, 10 rebounds) also led Darton, which will resume Region XVII play against Central Georgia Tech.

ATC men 65, Daytona 56: The Titans won their second game of the season late Saturday night behind a career-high 31 points from Antwan Tuff and 11 from Guy Barnes.

Albany Tech (2-3) will hit the road today for its next game at Middle Georgia Tech.

GSW MEN WIN: Senior Matt Shaw scored a career-high 27 points in 24 minutes of action to lead the Georgia Southwestern men’s basketball team past Tusculum College, 75-60, on Sunday afternoon in the Storm Dome.

The Hurricanes move back over .500 with a record of 3-2. Tusculum has lost three-straight games and falls to 1-4.