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Brewton grows up for struggling Claxton
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    Until recently, it’s been a tough run for the Lady Tigers of Claxton. Just ask Lacreasha Brewton.
    Brewton was the baby on an experienced CHS squad last season that just missed reaching the state playoffs.
    This year, four senior starters are gone from that squad, and Brewton, a junior, has been forced to become the leader of a team aching through week-after-week of growing pains.
    “It’s been a little bit hard for me to step up,” said Brewton. “But I had too. I have to get (the team) to work harder at practice, that way we’ll work harder during the game. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. You have to be vocal about it and you have to do it. You can’t just tell ‘em and then expect them to do it.”
    Claxton got its second win of the season with a 53-44 win over rival Portal last Saturday. The Lady Tigers are now 2-15.
    Brewton scored 26 points and had eight rebounds in the win. It was the third straight game of over 20 points for the 5-foot-6 guard who struggled with her new role midway through the season.
    “At first, I wasn’t the leader that (head coach Laura Aziz) needed me to be,” she said. “I wasn’t playing the way I was capable of playing.”
    With losses piling up and CHS still looking for its first win in mid-January, Aziz and Brewton were beginning to butt heads.
    “She’s really picked it up — but in the beginning she wasn’t really sure how to do it,” said Aziz. “We were probably butting heads a good bit. I think it says a lot about her because things haven’t been going real well for us. Things were pretty good last year and they were pretty good for her last year.”
    Since Claxton’s Jan. 11 win over Bryan County, Brewton has gone on fire.
    She scored 20 points four days later in a three-point loss to Class AAA Richmond Hill, put in 31 against Class AA Tattnall County in an eight-point defeat and drained 26 in the Portal win.
    “I feel like, the girls that came up are really trying and everybody’s working really hard,” she said. “We’re improving a lot now. We were having a little trouble working as a team (early in the season).”
    Slowly but surely, CHS (2-5 Region 3-A) may be coming together as region 3-A tournament play nears. Brewton may be becoming together as a player as well.
    With a deadly outside shot groomed by older brothers, Brewton has had to work extra hours on improving her defense, ball-handling and rebounding. She dreams of one day attending Georgia State and maybe even playing at the collegiate level.
    “She’s a good kid, she’s involved with (the Fellowship of Christian Athletes), does a good job in the classroom — she makes it easy,” said Aziz. “We always tell the kids we’re going to do whatever we can for you. We’ve told her you’ve got to be a better leader, you’ve got to play better defense, be a better rebounder — you want them to realize how hard they’ve got to work. She’s definitely showed signs of doing all those things here lately”
    Brewton has 687 points in her career, meaning she’ll likely surpass 1,000 points during her senior campaign.
    As for Claxton, the Tigers face the toughest stretch of the season with a trip to Savannah Country Day today and a visit from Calvary Day on Saturday. Both Savannah schools are consistently two of the tops girls programs in the state.
    “I just want us to continue playing well with each other,” Brewton added. “And I hope we can make it further than we did last year during the playoffs.”
    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.