The first three games in the championship semifinals of the Best of Preps basketball tournament at Chattanooga State were blowouts Friday night.
That was certainly the case among the girls as Baylor thumped Chattanooga Christian by a 50-22 final in the first one while Cleveland whipped two-time defending tournament champ GPS by a 50-27 score in the second.
The Baylor-Cleveland title contest is set for 7 p.m. Saturday night. CSAS and Brainerd tip things off at 10 a.m. for seventh place while Silverdale and East Hamilton will play for fifth at 1.
Chattanooga Christian and GPS will meet with third place on the line around 4.
BAYLOR 50, CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN 22: The Lady Chargers had an incredible comeback in Thursday's opening round as they rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat CSAS in overtime.
There was no comeback for the Lady Chargers against Baylor on Friday.
Using a swarming defense that made life miserable for Chattanooga Christian on the offensive end, the Lady Red Raiders had a 7-4 lead after the first quarter and slowly pulled away.
The difference was 20-9 at intermission, but a 12-1 run to start the third quarter all but ended the chance of a comeback by the Lady Chargers.
Baylor’s biggest lead came at the beginning of the fourth stanza when a 10-0 run made the difference 31 points at 44-13 following a steal and layup by freshman Abby Hubert.
It never got much closer as subs finished the game for both teams.
“It wasn’t pretty, but it was okay,” said Baylor coach John Gibson afterward.
“We did better defensively, but we didn’t play great offensively. Abby (Hubert) had an outstanding game as she really stepped up big. We just need to find a way for her to do that every time we play.
“I’m happy that we won, but I’m greedy. I just want us to keep getting better every time we play. I’m happy that we were able to make some free throws down the stretch as we made them pay for their mistakes, but we tried to keep the game at our pace and I think we succeeded,” Gibson added.
CCS coach Laura Cottrell felt like Thursday’s overtime win over CSAS may have taken a little bit of the wind out of her team’s sails.
“It was ugly as we were a little tired from yesterday’s game. Baylor was just more passionate about getting to the ball and they were more ready to play than we were. We just couldn’t find that fire we had on Thursday, but I fully expect us to be ready to play on Saturday.
“I’m sure that we had more turnovers than points, but give Baylor credit. They have a good basketball team,” Cottrell concluded.
The coach was right as the Lady Chargers committed 35 turnovers compared to just 22 points.
Kaleigh Clemons had 17 points to lead the Baylor attack while Hubert was next with 15.
Chattanooga Christian didn’t have a player in double figures, but Joanna Smith was tops with five points. Hannah Henry and Bailey Click both finished with four.
Baylor was 17 of 37 from the field for 46 percent while CCS connected on just eight of 24 field goal attempts for 33 percent.
Baylor also won the rebound battle, 28-18. Jazmine Simpkins was the lead for the Lady Red Raiders with six while Smith topped CCS with five.
Chattanooga Christian 4 5 4 9 -- 22
Baylor 7 1 14 16 -- 50
CCS (22) – Sabourin 3, Loyal, Henry 4, Davis 3, Smith 5, Hughes, Delashmitt 3, Balch, Click 4, Day, Royer.
BAYLOR (50) – Clemons 17, Carter, Simpkins, Huckabay 2, Popp 6, Karmon 2, Kaufman, Hubert 15, Birdsong 6, Smith, Blackmon, McMahan 2.
3-POINT GOALS: CCS 1 (Davis); Baylor 1 (Clemons).
CLEVELAND 50, GPS 27: Brianna Farris nailed a 15-foot jumper from the wing to give the Bruisers a quick 2-0 lead, but by the time freshman Akia Harris scored on a layup to start the second quarter, the Lady Blue Raiders had reeled off 20 straight points and the game was all but decided at that point.
While Cleveland was hitting nothing but net in a blistering display of shooting in the opening quarter, the Bruisers were shooting a lot of airballs and bricks as nothing seemed to work.
The difference at the break was 30-13 as Cleveland shot 55 percent from the field (11-20) while GPS sank just six of 24 field goal attempts for a cool 25.5 percent. Those numbers didn't change a whole lot in the second half as Cleveland finished at 52.8 percent on 19-36 while GPS sank six of 23 for a dismal 25.5 percent for the game.
Cleveland coach Mindy Kiser had said on Thursday that her girls had been hoping for a rematch of last year's championship game when the Bruisers prevailed. They got what they were looking for and they responded with one of their best games of the season so far.
"That's the best we've shot the ball all year. We came out ready to play and set the tone early," Kiser said after her team had improved to 9-3 overall.
"We defended well, especially against Brianna Farris, but it was nice that we were able to get into transition with our defense. We seem to play a lot better when we don't have to think as much, but I keep telling them that if they keep playing hard, good things normally happen," Kiser added.
The Bruisers have a young team and they'll be just fine, but they got caught in a cross-fire between Cleveland's swarming defense and spectacular shooting that included hitting five of eight shots from 3-point range.
"We don't have much experience out there, so we have to be patient. We're coming along, but Cleveland made a lot of big shots early. We played pretty even for the last three quarters. A loss like this certainly isn't the end of the world for us," said GPS coach Susan Crownover after her team had lost for the fourth time in 11 games.
Norah Berry scored 15 points to lead a trio of Cleveland players in double figures.
Sydnie Anderson was next with 13 while Shawnia Anderson followed with 11.
Harris was the scoring leader for GPS with 11 points. Farris had a frustrating game and ended up with six while Katie Morgan was next with five.
Cleveland won the rebound battle by a 33-25 margin as Shawnia Anderson had a dozen. Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad was next with eight.
Chappel Sharrock and Reagan Williams both had four rebounds to lead GPS.
Cleveland 20 10 9 11 -- 50
GPS 2 11 7 7 -- 27
CLEVELAND (50) -- Berry 15, Scoggins 2, Q. Abdullah-Muhammad 5, Sy. Anderson 13, Sh. Anderson 11, Ware, Geren, A. Abdullah-Muhammad, Crump 2, Saliba, Capron, McClendon 2.
GPS (27) -- Sharrock 2, Harris 11, Farris 6, Jackson, Williams, Ca. Key 1, Ch. Key, Spears, Morgan 5, Crownover, Stamey, Shutters 2, Pitts, Ware.
3-POINT GOALS: Cleveland 5 (Berry 3, Sy. Anderson 2); GPS 1 (Morgan).
CONSOLATION WINNERS included East Hamilton and Silverdale.
The game between CSAS and East Hamilton was close for a while with the Lady Hurricanes holding a 30-22 lead at halftime.
The second half was another story as East Hamilton had a 32-9 advantage, including a 13-2 difference in the fourth quarter.
Lexi Zackery had 13 points to lead East Hamilton, now 6-6, while Juliette Harp was also in double figures with 12. Jessica Caudle finished with 10.
Brooke Mitchell and Samantha Maffett were tops for the Lady Patriots with eight points apiece while Resnick Billen was next with seven.
East Hamilton enjoyed a 52-39 edge in rebounds with Zackery grabbing eight. Kaylee Moon scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds while Harp snagged six rebounds.
Mitchell was the leading rebounder for CSAS with 11.
Silverdale bolted to a 10-4 lead after the first quarter and extended that advantage to 28-12 by intermission.
Brainerd had a 26-21 advantage in the second half, but that early deficit was simply too much to overcome.
Mariah Massengill scored 21 points to lead Silverdale, now 8-5 for the season. Megan Lewis and Sloane Woodard followed with nine and seven points, respectively.
Jamee Ward had 21 points to lead the Lady Panthers while Anisha Douglas was next with nine.
Brainerd had a 43-39 edge in rebounds with Jamila Rowland grabbing nine and Jarika Walker eight. Douglas also had eight caroms. Woodard was tops for Silverdale with nine.
Arts & Sciences 14 8 7 2 -- 31
East Hamilton 16 14 19 13 -- 62
ARTS & SCIENCES (31) – Little 2, K. Billen 4, Mitchell 8, Maffett 8, Smith 2, Patmon, McElvain, Benn, Lee, Montgomery, R. Billen 7, Ealey.
EAST HAMILTON (62) -- J. Caudle 10, K. Caudle 2, McCullom, Zackery 13, Moon 8, Pettit 5, Harp 12, Stovall 2, Woods 4, Montgomery 2, Giles 2, Wood 2.
3-POINT GOALS: CSAS none; East Hamilton 1 (Pettit).
Silverdale 10 18 8 13 -- 49
Brainerd 4 8 14 12 -- 38
SILVERDALE (49) – Alosi 2, Massengill 21, Lewis 9, Woodard 7, Redmond 3, Smith 2, Pike 4, Sims, Skelton 1.
BRAINERD (38) – Woods 2, Douglas 9, Ward 21, Walker, Rowland 3, Robinson 1, Ellis 2.
3-POINT GOALS: Silverdale 5 (Massengill 4, Woodard); Brainerd 5 (Douglas 3, Ward 2).
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)