Bravettes have ample motivation to bring home the state title


The most dominant high school basketball program in Georgia was right here in Milledgeville back in the late 1980s. The Baldwin Bravettes were unstoppable, winning three straight state championships in GHSA Class AAAA, back when Class AAAA was the largest classification in Georgia.

Time flies, though, and it's now been 34 years since the Bravettes last reached the top of the mountain. Not that there haven't been heartbreaks and almosts.

The 1999-2000 Bravettes were led by Tasha Butts, a consensus All-American and Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year. Butts was verbally committed to Head Coach Pat Summit and the Tennessee Lady Vols, during the era when Tennessee ran women's college basketball. It was a big day back in 1999 when Summitt came to Milledgeville and toured Baldwin High and smiled and shook a bunch of hands.


The Bravettes looked completely unbeatable that season, pounding Pope in the semifinals and setting the stage for the state title game against Beach High, a scrappy squad from inner-city Savannah. Initially, the game appeared to be a coronation, with Butts and the Bravettes building a big early lead. It wasn't meant to be, however, and Beach clawed back for the last-minute win.


Butts collapsed on the Macon Coliseum court and was inconsolable, knowing that her high school career was over. It remains one of the biggest upsets in GHSA basketball state championship game history.

WMAZ/Channel 13 file footage

A very similar scene played out last March and in the exact same building. The Bravettes were on the brink of a state championship, up four points with just 67 seconds left to play. That's when the Griffin Lady Bears started raining three-pointers, though, and the girls in green ran away with the 51-47 victory, once again breaking Bravette hearts. This time, it was star player Janaye Walker who dropped to the floor and was inconsolable...

Baldwin2k News

Coach Kizzi Walker and her girls then went back to work. There was off-season conditioning, summertime AAU ball and much more. Then, the day before the first practice of the 2023-2024 season, Tasha Butts came back home to Milledgeville for the final time. Butts, 41, passed away following a two-year battle with metastatic breast cancer. Butts stepped away from her head coaching duties at Georgetown University back in September after her condition began declining. Georgetown was her first head coaching job after working tirelessly in the industry over the last 15 years to get to that point.

Following the diagnosis, Butts initially remained focused on her coaching career and rarely spoke publically about her cancer. At some point, however, Butts pivoted and dedicated herself to raising awareness and raising money...


A memorial service was held for Butts at Lunsford Gym, the same place where she wowed crowds for four years. Her jersey was retired in a ceremony in November.

Butts' jersey was part of the backdrop this season at Lunsford Gym, and Butts' memory will be part of the backdrop tomorrow afternoon at the Macon Coliseum.

• Baldwin (28-2) vs. Hardaway (27-4) // GHSA Class AAAA girls state championship game

• 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Macon Coliseum

• Admission is $15 and must be purchased at GoFan (CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK)

• The game also will be broadcast live on GPB (formerly GPTV) in multiple viewing formats.

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