Bradley Central hosted Cleveland Tuesday, and the two teams were able to sweep their longtime rivals as the Bearettes toppled the Lady Raiders 57-28 and the Bears held on for a 45-42 win over the Blue Raiders.
Throughout the majority of the game, the Bears (4-4, 3-0) held at least a six point lead over the Raiders (1-3, 1-1).
“I told the kids that I was very proud of their efforts here. We were stone cold for three quarters and then got a little hot and battled back in the fourth quarter,” Cleveland head coach Jason McCowan said. “It was six of our guys’ first time ever playing over here at the varsity level tonight. We’re not going to put our heads down. We battled in a tough place to play.”
Even though that lead dwindled to just three points by the end of the game, it was still enough to earn Bradley basketball bragging rights for the season.
“We played good at times tonight but that last minute and a half we looked kind of ugly, but a win is a win and we’ll take it, ugly or pretty,” Bears head coach Chuck Clark. “I’m proud of these guys. Nobody expected us to be where we are right now.”
A few ill-timed turnovers by the Raiders gave the Bears the chance to jump out ahead 13-4 by the end of the first quarter.
“We would like to get to where our defense is able to generate some offense, but we’re just not there yet. I think we’ll be really good by February,” McCowan said.
Cleveland’s scoring began to liven up in the second quarter, and by the half Bradley saw its lead cut to 18-12.
“I thought we played pretty good. We thought that they would run a 1-2-2 so we went over it a little bit in practice. Obviously it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to run, but I was pleased with how we handled it,” Clark stated.
The teams were evenly matched in the third quarter, with both scoring 16 points.
In the last minute of play, the Bears had a 45-35 lead over the Raiders. A trey by Cantrel Ware chipped away at Bradley’s lead and then Colby Tatum’s 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining brought Cleveland within four points of tying the game.
Cleveland’s Kendrick Thompson was fouled with 1.6 seconds left, and hit 1-of-3 free throws to end the game with a three point deficit.
Logan Cox, who according to Coach Clark has struggled to shoot the ball lately, came out huge for the Bears Tuesday evening.
He finished with 15 points, all from his five 3-pointers.
Cantrel Ware led the Raiders with 14 points and two treys of his own.
“We’re used to having two or three guys in double figures and we just don’t have that,” McCowan explained. “We’ve got to find that person or play better defensively.”
For the game, the Bears had a shooting percentage of 38, while the Raiders shot 29 percent from the field.
BEARETTES 57, LADY RAIDERS 28
The Cleveland girls came into Tuesday evening knowing full well about the challenges that lay waiting for them in Jim Smiddy Arena when they faced Bradley Central.
While the Bearettes (7-2, 2-1) were only ahead of the Lady Raiders (3-2, 1-1) by six points, 9-3, by the end of the first quarter, the “golden” girls soon were able to bury their rival.
Following a slow start, Bradley was able to put 23 points up on the board in the second quarter, finishing out the first half with 32-12 lead over Cleveland.
“No disrespect to Cleveland but we have more size and experience than them and I think it was very obvious that we had them outmanned inside,” Bearettes head coach Jason Reuter said. “I don’t think Cleveland could have shot it any worse than they did tonight. They’re a better-shooting team than they showed tonight.”
The Lady Raiders hit 4-of-13 field goals and were 0-for-12 in 3-pointers for a shooting percentage of 16 in the first half.
“Obviously we were outsized inside and we were very hesitant in the first half. There’s just a lot of things that we work on daily that we didn’t do in the first half,” Cleveland head coach Mindy Kiser stated. “In the first half I felt like we were just slinging the ball at the rim and just hoping for the best instead of working for the very best shot. When you play good teams, like we played tonight, you can’t do that.”
While the Lady Raiders struggled with shooting in the first half, the Bearettes hit 10-of-16 two-point shots and 2-of-4 their 3-pointers for 60 percent shooting.
For Coach Reuter, it is the opportunities his team didn’t take advantage of that are troubling.
“The only complaint I have with my girls is that we wasted too many trips. We’re trying to look at the big picture here. We’ve got to get more consistent, we have to be able to go four and five trips and score if we want to compete with wthe top teams in the state,” Reuter explained. “We were just missing easy shots or having a silly turnover. It was just us not executing. When we started executing, that margin began to increase. “We are after the big prize and that’s why I’m harping on the little things, because those are the things that decide if you win the state championship or not.”
The Bearettes carried their domination of the court over into the second half, finishing the third quarter with a 25 point lead over the Lady Raiders.
Cleveland was able to add 10 more points to the scoreboard before the final buzzer sounded, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap between the teams.
“It’s a tough place to play but that doesn’t excuse our execution. We weren’t able to change defenses like we wanted to because we couldn’t get the ball in the hole,” Kiser said.
For the game, Cleveland hit 22 percent of its shots and Bradley hit for 59 percent.
The Lady Raiders did see success from the free-throw line, hitting 71 percent of their free-throws.
Jenna Scoggins led the girls in blue with 10 points.
The Bearettes had 36 rebounds and 16 turnovers while Cleveland had 19 rebounds and 19 turnovers.
The “Twin Towers” led the way for Bradley, with Brooke Copeland netting 23 points and Rebecca Reuter totaling 17 points.
“We beat our archrival by 29 points, now we need to move on,” Reuter said. “I’m very proud of my girls, they were very obviously focused and ready. All of my girls played and everyone did something good out there. It was just an overall good team win.”
District 5-AAA play continues for both schools on Friday. Bradley Central will host Ooltewah, while Cleveland travels down to Collegedale to face East Hamilton.
LADY RAIDERS 28
Cleveland 3 10 6 10 — 28
Bradley Central 9 23 11 14 — 57
Cleveland (28) — Jenna Scoggins 10, Berry 7, Morman 4, Phillips 3, McCledon 2, Crump 2, Stamatiadis, Borton, Mastin, Walkup, Person.
Bradley Central (57) — Brooke Copeland 23, Rebecca Reuter 17, Davis 4, EK. Brown 4, Stallings 3, Delane 3, Summers 3, Hubbard, Hughes, K. Brown, Gaither, McRee.
3-point goals: Bradley 3 (Stallings, Delane, Summers).
Free throws: Cleveland 5-of-6; Bradley 17-of-24.
RrecordsS: Cleveland 3-2, 1-1; Bradley 7-2, 2-1.
BEARS 45, BLUE RAIDERS 42
Cleveland 4 8 16 14 — 42
Bradley Central 13 5 16 11 — 45
Cleveland (42) — Cantrel Ware 14, Thompson 7, Tatum 6, Brown 5, Dennard 4, Scott 4, Beaty 2, T. Ware, Bracero, Vecchio, Munoz, Oliver, Gibson, McRee.
Bradley Central (45) — Logan Cox, Bentley 9, McCurdy 7, Clark 5, Morgan 4, Copeland 3, Gregory 2, McGowan, Maroon, Crisp, Billups, Pitner, Beavers.
3-point goals: Cleveland 5 (C. Ware 2, Tatum 2, Brown); Bradley 8 (Cox 5, McCurdy, Bentley, Clark).
Free throws: Cleveland 9-of-14; Bradley 5-of-7.
Records: Cleveland 1-3, 1-1; Bradley 4-4, 3-0.