RED BANK — After Tuesday night’s disappointing performance Bradley Central’s boys took a “long hard look in the mirror,” resulting in a renewed attitude and a convincing thrashing of another longtime opponent Thursday evening.
“When we showed them game film (of Tuesday night’s 63-61 loss to Cleveland), the guys didn’t like what they saw,” explained veteran coach Kent Smith. “After allowing Cleveland a layup drill, we knew we had to take back the paint and we did a good job of that tonight.”
“We did a lot better of rotating on defense,” Smith said after watching his Bears make a statement with a 71-48 taming of Red Bank. “I’m proud of the way we bounced back.”
After dealing with several key injury issues this season, Bradley is expected to get starting point guard Bryce Copeland back after he goes to the doctor today for a check on the forearm he broke six weeks ago.
“We’re going to take three days off and then hopefully when we come back together we’ll have Bryce and can have the consistency we need in practice, having everybody we’re going to have,” Smith assessed.
The Bears won’t play again until Dec. 27, when they will face Knoxville Central in a Maryville holiday tournament.
Meanwhile, Bradley Central’s girls also put 71 points on the scoreboard in another blowout win as the host Lady Lions managed just 30.
Posting their highest point total of the season, the Bearettes improve to 10-1, marking their best start since the 1994-95 campaign, when coach Paul Cretton’s squad opened the season with just one loss in their first 24 games.
While winning by an average of 22.9 points per game so far this season, the Bearettes have defeated their last half dozen opponents by an average of 31 points.
Coach Jason Reuter’s squad will travel to Florida the week after Christmas to play in the prestigious Rock Holiday Classic.
The Bears scored the first nine points of Thursday night’s battle at the foot of Signal Mountain. Never trailing in the game, Bradley led 16-10 at the first buzzer, plus held a nine-point advantage at the intermission.
Bradley kept up the pressure in the critical first five minutes of the second half with a 16-7 run and led by 19 heading into the final eight-minute span. The Bears marked their largest advantage at 27 with just 2:38 on the clock.
A trio of Bear seniors scored in double figures with Hunter Chastain leading the way with 24 points and six rebounds. Miles Morgan helped out with 15 points, while Miles Christian netted 10.
Senior Justin Houston added a half dozen points and dished out six assists, while classmate Darien Johnson took four charges and copped four steals.
Bradley shot 63 percent (26-of-41) from the two-point area and made 18-of-21 free throws, including a perfect 13-for-13 in the second half.
Lady Lions 30
It took the Bradley girls a little over three minutes to find their stroke Thursday night, but when they did the rout was on.
After making just one of their first eight shots and trailing 5-2, the Bearettes found the bottom of the net seven of their next eight shots as they scored 21 unanswered points.
Leading 25-9 at the end of the opening period, Bradley’s defense continued to spark the offense in the second frame with 10 steals to go with the seven from the opening period. The Bearettes outscored the hosts 23-2 in the frame for a 37-point led at the half.
The scoring barrage continued in the first four minutes of the second half as newcomer Taylor Neuharth drained back-to-back 3s to cap a 12-point night thanks four long-range bombs.
Lee University signee Kayla Beavers matched Neuharth’s treys to open the second half and fellow future Lady Flame Caroline Smith capped off a 14-1 run to start the third period with a fast break basket, pushing the difference to 50 points with a quarter and a half to play.
Having played all 12 Bearettes in the first half, coach Reuter continued to play his reserves liberally throughout the second half.
Despite not getting in the game in the final 16 minutes, sophomore Brooke Copeland led Bradley with 23 points, six steals, five rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
With 10 Bearettes getting into the scoring column, Neuharth’s dozen and Smith adding 10, plus four caroms, were the only other double figures.
Beavers had a trio of thefts to go with her six points, while senior Keila Formont dished out a half dozen assists. Freshman Chelsea Summars swiped three steals and handed out four helps in the victory.
The Bearettes hit 17-of-37 shots from in front of the arc and 9-of-22 from beyond it, plus forced 28 Lady Lion turnovers.
Bradley Central 25 23 14 9 — 71
Red Bank 9 2 8 11 — 30
Bearettes (71) — Brooke Copeland 23, Taylor Neuharth 12, Caroline Smith 10, Beavers 6, Carroll 4, Summars 4, Hammond 4, Formont 3, Withrow 3, Whitted 2, McCracken, Davis.
Lady Lions (30) — MiShannon Wilbanks 14, Cooper 8, Griggiin 7, Pittman 1, Babb, Gagliano, Ferguson.
3-pointers: Bradley 9 (Neuharth 4, Beavers 2, Withrow, Carroll, Summars); Red Bank 2 (Griffin, Wilbanks).
Free Throws: Bradley 10-of16; Red Bank 6-of-18.
Records: Bradley Central 10-1; Red Bank 4-6.
Bradley Central 16 16 22 17 — 71
Red Bank 10 13 10 15 — 48
Bears (71) — Hunter Chastain 24, Miles Morgan 15, Miles Christian 10, Houston 6, Contreras 4, Johnson 4, Whitmire 3, Cox 3, Bentley 2, Terrell, Cain, Thompson.
Lions (48) — Fred Mathews 15, Deres Benn 12, Davidson 7, Maddox 6, Cummings 4, Stewart 2, McDuffie 2, Abazid, Tucker, Bynans, Newsome.
3-pointers: Bradley 0; Red Bank 3 (Maddox 2, Matthews).
Free Throws: Bradley 18-of-21; Red Bank 5-of-20.
Records: Bradley Central 8-3; Red Bank 4-5.