MARYVILLE — After a poor showing in the opening round of the Renasant Bank Christmas Tournament, Bradley Central’s boys bounced back with back-to-back victories in consolation action Friday and Saturday in Maryville.
After falling to Knox Fulton by 10 points Thursday, the Bears overcame an 0-for-18 effort from 3-point land and a 10-point deficit at the first horn to claim a 48-46 victory over Sequoyah thanks to some final-minute heroics by junior Daniel Clark on Friday.
Bradley then built a 16-point, second half lead over Knox Central on Saturday only to see it disappear completely before pulling out a 65-62 victory, thanks to some similar clutch time play from freshman Cole Copeland.
Now 8-7 on the season, the Bears will take this week off before returning to the Jim Smiddy Arena hardwood on Jan. 6 when McCallie comes calling. The Bearettes, who are currently in South Carolina for a holiday tournament, will face Girls Preparatory School (GPS) in the opening game of the varsity doubleheader that Monday.
BEARS 65, BOBCATS 62
After an evenly fought opening eight-minute period, Bradley exploded for 22 points in the second frame and a 10-point halftime advantage.
The Bears stretched their lead to 16 points in the third quarter, but the boys from Knoxville Central (6-8) were able to whittle it down to just five points as the final frame began.
The Bobcats were able to even the score with six minutes remaining and took a 62-60 lead with 3:20 on the clock, but that would turn out to be their last bucket of the game.
While holding the Knoxville squad scoreless, Bradley was able to even the score once again and then with less than a minute to go, Copeland not only hit a baseline jumper for the lead, but also stole the ball on the ensuing possession and fed Clark in the lane, who was fouled while putting up a shot and made one of his two free throws to give the game its final tally.
Copeland paced the victory by sinking 5-of-7 two-point shots and 1-of-2 3s on his way to a team-high 15 points, plus he blocked three shots and pulled down four rebounds.
Senior Taylor Bentley helped out the Bear total with 14 points, including 3-of-4 at the charity stripe, plus he handed out four assists copped a pair of steals. Clark collected a dozen markers, four rebounds, four helps and a couple of thefts.
Sophomore Bradley McCurdy hit all four of his foul shots on his way to 10 points, plus he snatched four caroms, handed out a trio of “dimes” and snagged a pair of steals.
The Bears made good on 20-of-41 shots from inside the 19-foot arc, plus hit 36 percent (4-of-11) from beyond it. Bradley made 13-of-18 free throws.
With four players in double figures, Knox Central had a strong shooting effort, sinking 15-of-29 (52 percent) from close range, plus was 8-for-20 from distance. The Bobcats made 8-of-10 charity tosses.
BEARS 48, CHIEFS 46
For the second straight day Bradley fell into a double-digit hole in the opening quarter, but this time was able to climb out of it to squeak out a victory.
Sequoyah (5-9) scored seven of the game’s first nine points and closed the first frame with an 8-0 run to put the difference at 18-8 when the buzzer sounded.
After the Chiefs pushed their advantage to its highest mark of 13, twice, early in the second period, the Bears woke up with back-to-back fast break baskets off steals to key a 13-2 run to trim the deficit to just two points at the half.
The two teams traded the first 11 points of the second half before 6-foot-5 senior Sam Gregory took a dish from Copeland for a “hoop and some harm” for an old fashioned three-point play and the first Bradley lead with 4:44 on the third period clock.
After taking the lead, the Bears completed an 11-0 run with three straight fast break baskets for an eight-point edge. Sequoyah was able to stem the tide with a driving basket and a 3-pointer to pull back within three points heading into the final frame.
Neither team could find the bottom of the bucket for nearly three minutes to open the fourth quarter before the Chiefs’ Trey Strickland drilled a long-range bomb to even the score at the 5:07 mark. The boys from Madisonville added a free throw and their sixth shot from distance to go up by four points a little over a minute later.
Bradley evened the score with a driving basket by Clark and a steal and a fast break jumper by Bentley with just over two and a half minutes remaining.
After Sequoyah retook the lead with 92 ticks to go and a Bear timeout, Clark was able to knot the score at 46-all with a jumper from the lane and then on the ensuing trip down the court, dove to the floor while stealing the ball. He shuffled it to McCurdy, who was able to drive the hoop against a lone defender for what turned out to be the game-winning basket with 47 seconds on the game clock.
Posting a perfect shooting night, Gregory, who has recently joined the varsity Bears, led the Black-and-Gold with 16 points, making all six of his shots from the field, plus all four of his free throw attempts. He also had a trio of assists and pulled down three rebounds.
Clark was right behind with 14 points, eight caroms, three steals and a pair of helps, while Bentley netted eight markers and a half dozen thefts. McCurdy netted a six points and snatched seven rebounds, while Copeland cleaned the glass for half dozen ricochets.
While Bradley was 0-for on 18 long-range shots, it made good on 22-of-39 two-point attempts (56 percent) and was 4-for-6 from the free throw line.
Sequoyah hit 17-of-44 shots from the field, including the half dozen “treys,” plus went 6-for-10 at the foul line. Taylor Hawkins paced the Chiefs with a game-high 19 points, while Seth Schaffer added a dozen.
Bradley Central 14 22 14 15 — 65
Knox Central 14 12 19 17 — 62
BEARS (65) — Cole Copeland 15, Taylor Bentley 14, Daniel Clark 12, Bradley McCurdy 10, Crisp 5, Gregory 3, Cox 3, Maroon 3, Morgan.
BOBCATS (62) — Matt Randolph 14, Tee Sandford 13, Trey Mitchell 12, Brett Heffofer 11, Poplar 8, Washington 2, Cate 2, Wilson, Davies.
3-POINTERS: Bradley 4 (Copeland, Maroon, Cox, Bentley); Knox Central 8 (Heffofer 3, Mitchell 2, Randolph 2, Sandford).
FREE THROWS: Bradley 13-of-18; Knox Central 6-of-10.
RECORDS: Bradley 8-7; Knox Central 6-8.
Sequoyah 18 9 10 9 — 46
Bradley Central 8 17 15 8 — 48
CHIEFS (46) — Taylor Hawkins 19, Seth Schaffer 12, Abernathy 6, Strickland 5, King 4, Phillips, Morris, Russell, Moore.
BEARS (48) — Sam Gregory 16, Daniel Clark 14, Bentley 8, McCurdy 6, Copeland 2, Crisp 2, Cox, Maroon, McGowan, Morgan.
3-POINTERS: Sequoyah 6 (Hawkins 2, Schaffer 2, Strickland, King); Bradley 0.
FREE THROWS: Sequoyah 6-of-10; Bradley 4-of-6.
RECORDS: Sequoyah 5-9; Bradley 7-7.