In the championship game of the Upward Classic in late December, Millbrook, N.C., stopped the Bearettes’ 12-game winning streak that started the season in a 45-38 decision.
Saturday evening it was Wesleyan High School out of Peachtree Corners, Ga. — which has won nine of the last 11 Georgia Class AA state titles — that halted a six-game Bradley run with a 69-61 final in the Starr’s Mills Girls’ Night Out event.
“We were our own worst enemy,” declared Bearette assistant coach Kyle Copeland. “We were up by 12 with 2:50 to go in the first half and we started turning the ball over. We turned the ball over 24 times tonight and against a team like this that’s going to cost you.”
Now 15-4 on the season, Wesleyan got off 74 shots during the 32 minutes of play, hitting 24 of them, including seven from beyond the 3-point line.
Led by 32 points from 6-foot-1 Auburn signee Katie Frerking, including 16 of the victors’ 18 fourth-quarter points, Wesleyan was able to break the Bearette press late in the contest to turn a two-point lead at the start of the final period into the eight-point victory.
In a nip-and-tuck battle all the way, the Georgia state champs led 19-18 at the first buzzer, but Bradley (18-2) came roaring out in the second period and built a double-digit lead only to have Wesleyan chip it away to a two-point difference at the half.
The Bearettes saw their two-point lead turn into a two-point deficit in the third frame before Wesleyan made its stretch run to seal the victory.
Junior Brooke Copeland, a 6-foot-2 post and 5-foot-4 point guard Whitney Donaldson ripped the cords for 20 points apiece as Bradley made 13-of-23 shots from in front of the arc and 6-of-15 from beyond it.
The Black-and-Gold won the battle of the boards 28-25, with Copeland cleaning the glass for seven rebounds, while 6-foot-2 “Twin Tower” teammate Rebecca Reuter pulled down nine, plus netted eight points, copped a pair of steals and blocked a shot.
Donaldson drilled a trio of 3-pointers and dished out five assists in the contest, while senior Kayla Withrow helped out with a pair of treys on her way to seven points. Senior Baylee Carroll netted a half dozen points, while classmate Brandi Whitted pulled down five rebounds and handed off four helps.
Samford signee Brittany Stevens had a pair of 3-pointers among her 14 points for Wesleyan, while Taylor Casey and Nikki McDonald also netted two 3’s as part of their nine and eight points respectively.
Along with just eight turnovers, Wesleyan sank 14-of-19 free throws while Bradley was 17-for-24 at the charity stripe.
Bradley Central 18 19 12 12 — 61
Wesleyan (Ga.) 19 16 16 18 — 69
BEARETTES (61) — Brooke Copeland 20, Whitney Donaldson 20, Reuter 8, Withrow 7, Carroll 6, Whitted, Davis.
WESLEYAN (69) — Katie Frerking 32, Brittany Stevens 14, Casey 9, McDonald 8, Edwards 2, Mosley 3, Psirigos 1.
3-point goals: Bradley 6 (Donaldson 3, Withrow 2, Copeland); Wesleyan 7 (Stevens 2, McDonald 2, Casey 2, Frerking).
Free throws: Bradley 17-of-24; Wesleyan 14-of-19.
Records: Bradley Central 18-2; Wesleyan 15-4.