Blue Raider head coach Jason McCowan said the goal of the tournament is to take advantage of the second major break of the school year to give an early test to a variety of teams.
"We get to take advantage of the holiday hours with everybody being out of school. Normally, on a school night you can only play two varsity basketball games so we took advantage of being out of school and brought in six really good basketball teams," he said.
"We always try to have two or three local teams then you get to bring in a Hardin Valley and Austin East. We are real excited about the teams that are here again this year."
McCowan said the tournament's design is to bring in talent from across the area to supply different looks from teams not normally seen on a regular-season schedule.
"It's a chance to play somebody with a different style. We have played schools from Memphis in the past as well as from Middle Tennessee. It's just a good, early test to see what you have compared to the rest of the state," McCowan said. "Once you get past the Thanksgiving tournaments and Christmas tournaments, you are locked in local. You don't even get a chance to hear about what the other teams are doing, so it's nice to see people you don't normally see on a regular basis."
Polk County 29
The Blue Raiders had little trouble in their opening game of the Classic with a 57-point win over the Wildcats of Polk County.
Kendrick Thompson led Cleveland with 29 points including five 3-pointers. Dustin Little hit double figures with 10.
Cleveland opened with a 15-2 run and held the Wildcats to only five first-quarter points on the way to a 43-17 halftime lead.
The Raiders raced to a 75-20 lead after three quarters and closed out the win with the second line off the bench.
Austin East 69
Bradley Central 65
The Bears of Bradley Central scored the final eight points of the first quarter, led 33-27 at the half and stayed on top 49-41 after three quarters before falling to the Austin East Roadrunners 69-65.
Bryce Copeland scored 23 for the Bears and Daniel Clark added 18 points to the effort. Matthew Whittmore hit double figures with 11.
The Bears led by eight after the first eight minutes but fell behind 23-22 after a 12-0 run to open the second quarter put the Roadrunners up by one.
The Bears clawed their way to a 25-23 lead and held off Austin East to lead by six after two quarters of play.
Bradley opened the final eight minutes still on top by six and led by eight before the Roadrunners closed it to 57-56. Austin East caught and passed the Bears with just over two minutes left in the game and held on for the win.
Hardin Valley 51
Polk County 32
The Hardin Valley Lady Hawks opened their Cleveland Classic appearance with a 51-32 win over the Wildkittens of Polk County.
Polk was led by Rosa Haynes with 19 points. Emily Watson added 10, but the Wildkittens could not keep the Lady Hawks from flying away with the win.
Hardin Valley opened with a 7-0 run and added six more to lead 13-5 after the first quarter.
Polk cut it to a six-point lead with just over four minutes left in the half, but could get no closer and trailed 25-17 at the half.
The Lady Hawks built their lead to 16 midway through the third and closed with a 40-21 lead. Hardin added 11 more in the fourth while holding Polk to 11 to close out the win.
Cumberland County 42
The Cleveland Lady Raiders followed the 19 points of Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad and closed out the first night of the Cleveland Classic with a 57-42 win over the Cumberland County Lady Jets.
Sydnie Anderson added 14 to the final total for Cleveland.
After a slow start, Cleveland took a 10-6 first quarter lead and steadily opened a gap of 20-10 midway through the second. The Lady Raiders tossed in 15 more before the half and led 35-17 at the break.
The flow continued in the third with Cleveland maintaining a double-digit lead. Substitutions were plentiful in the final eight minutes as coach Mindy Kiser emptied the bench.
McMinn County 51
Polk County 39
Alisa Gaudiolo scored 14 points to lead the McMinn County Lady Cherokees to a 51-39 win over the Wildkittens of Polk County.
Polk's Emily Wilson also scored 14 to lead the Wildkittens scoring.
McMinn County opened with a 14-12 lead and held a 21-14 lead at halftime. The Lady Tribe outscored Polk 15-14 in the third quarter and put in 15 more in the fourth to get the win.
Hardin Valley 25
The Lady Hawks cut an 11-7 Cleveland first-quarter lead to 11-9 and both teams continued to struggle to score in the second.
The Lady Raiders led 13-10 with just over five minutes left in the half. A Lady Hawks free throw made it 13-11 with 4:23 to play.
Sydnie Anderson came through with a basket underneath for the Lady Raiders to make it a 15-11 game with 2:24 left. Hardin Valley dropped in two more just before the half and trailed by two at the break.
Anderson opened the second half for the Lady Raiders with her second 3-pointer of the game to make it 18-13. Shawnia Anderson followed up with back-to-back baskets giving Cleveland a seven point advantage.
Anderson's third trey made it 25-17 minutes later.
Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad opened the fourth with a basket to make it 27-18. Hardin Valley scored five straight to cut it to 29-23 with under four minutes remaining in the game.
The Lady Raiders scored the final five points of the game to close out the 36-25 win.
Abdullah-Muhammad led the Lady Raiders with 14 points. Sydnie Anderson followed with 11.
McMinn County 55
Polk County 42
The Polk County Wildcats and McMinn County Cherokees opened the men's half of the afternoon at the Raider Dome in the final day of the Cleveland Classic.
The Cherokees raced to a 17-5 first-quarter lead and never looked back in a 55-42 win over the Wildcats.
Cody Groomes led Polk with 16 points and McMinns's Ty Jones matched that total while Austin Hayes scored 1 for the tribe.
After trailing 32-16 at halftime, Polk closed to within 13 points of the Cherokees twice in the third quarter, but could get no closer and fell behind 45-27 after three quarters of play.
The Wildcats opened the fourth with four straight 3s to make it a 42-21 game. Cody Groomes, who had three of the four treys, added a layup to pull Polk within 10 points of the Tribe at 51-41.
But, it would be as close as Polk could get as McMinn held off the 'Cats for the win.
Bradley Central 52
Hardin Valley 51
A Hardin Valley 3-pointer as time ran out made it close, but the Bradley Central Bears chalked up a 52-51 win over the Hawks on the final day of the Cleveland Classic.
In a low scoring first quarter, the Bears of Bradley Central and Hawks of Hardin Valley battled to a 9-9 tie. With the Bears trailing 8-4, Logan Cox nailed a 3-pointer and Taylor Bentley dropped in a pair of free throws to give Bradley a 9-8 lead before the Hawks knotted the score with a free throw with seconds left in the period.
An early 3-pointer sparked a 9-0 run by the Hawks who took an 18-11 lead. Defensively, Hardin Valley held the Bears to only seven second quarter points and led 25-16 at halftime.
Hardin Valley built a 38-24 lead in the third before the Bears rallied with five straight points to make it 38-29. Bradley Central outscored the Hawks 5-2 down the stretch to make it a 40-35 game at the end of the third quarter.
Bradley opened the fourth with a short jumper off the glass by Caleb Cain and a 3 from the left corner by Bryce Copeland to tie the game at 40-40. Copeland again tied it, at 44-all, with just under three minutes left to play and put the Bears ahead 46-44 with a steal and layup with 1:24 left on the clock.
With less than a minute left Taylor Bentley picked the pocket of a Hardin Hawk and raced in for another two points for a 48-44 Bradley lead. The Hawks responded with a basket to make it 48-46 with 42 seconds left.
With 26 seconds left, Bentley stepped to the line and hit two free throws to make it 50-46. With time running out, Copeland, who led all scoring with 23 points put Bradley up by four from the free-throw line, 52-48. The Hawks made it interesting with a 3 at the buzzer to make the final score 52-51.
Austin East 69
The tournament finale saw a battle between the Roadrunners of Austin East and the host Blue Raiders of Cleveland.
A substantial Roadrunners lead turned into a down-to-the wire finish with the Blue Raiders pulling out a last-second 70-69 victory thanks to a Kendrick Thompson 3-pointer.
Thompson scored 15 points for the Raiders while C.J. Bryant led Cleveland with 22. Austin East's Andre Wilson led all scoring with 22.
A fast paced first quarter saw the Raiders jump to a quick 4-0 lead. A 3 from Kendrick Thompson made it 9-4 and Johnson put Cleveland on top 17-12 with two free throws with just under four minutes left in the first quarter.
Cleveland closed the period with a 5-0 run to lead 23-16.
The Roadrunners opened the second quarter with a 5-0 run of their own to cut the Cleveland lead to 23-21. C.J. Bryant put the Raiders back up by five with a driving layup combined with a free throw. Austin East tied the game at 31-31 with 3:10 to go in the half and took a 33-31 lead seconds later.
The Roadrunners outscored the Raiders 14-5 in the last three minutes of the half to lead 39-36.
Austin East returned to the floor in the third quarter and quickly built an eight point lead at 46-38 and led 51-39 three minutes into the half. A 7-0 run made it 56-39 in favor of the Roadrunners. Austin East went on to lead 60-46 at the end of the third.
Jahmal Johnson gave the Blue Raiders some spark with a slam dunk to cut the Austin East lead to 50-40 just 90 seconds into the final period.
The Roadrunners led by 10 with four minutes left to play as the Raiders struggled to get back in sync. With 2:51 left, C.J. Bryant made it an eight point game with a 3 from the left corner. Michael Huff cut it to six points 42 seconds later and made it 68-64 form the free-throw line with 1:38 left. A driving layup by Thompson cut the Austin East lead to two points.
With 47 seconds left on the clock, the inbounds play by the Roadrunners was met with full-court pressure from the Raiders which resulted in a fruitless trip to the line for the Runners. A turnover and foul by Austin East sent Bryant to the line with 26 seconds left. Bryant dropped in the first toss but missed the second, resulting in a foul by Cleveland which trailed 68-67. The first toss dropped through the nylons for Austin East. The second shot missed and the rebound was grabbed by Cleveland.
Thompson brought the Cleveland crowd to its feet seconds later with a 3 from the right wing to give the Raiders a 70-69 lead with only 10 seconds showing on the clock.
The Roadrunners brought the ball downcourt under pressure from Cleveland. As the ball came across midcourt the Raiders forced a turnover and recovered the ball to steal the win, 70-69.