Bearettes Knock Off Cleveland, 51-43, For Third Straight 5-AAA Tourney Championship

Twin Towers Copeland, Reuter Combine For 33 Points To Power Bradley Offense

Monday, February 18, 2013 - by Larry Fleming

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Bradley Central’s Twin Towers – juniors Brooke Copeland and Rebecca Reuter – came up big again Monday night, combining to score 33 points and leading the Bearettes to a 51-43 victory over rival Cleveland in the District 5-AAA tournament championship game at Cleveland High School.

The 6-foot-1-inch Copeland, the district’s regular-season most valuable player, scored 19 points and Reuter (6-2) added 14 as the Bearettes (25-2) captured their third consecutive tournament title in coach Jason Reuter’s three seasons at the helm.

“That’s great,” Copeland said of the title streak. “I can’t put into words how proud I am of my team. We’ve worked hard for this. Now, we’ve got to go out and get a region championship.”

Bradley Central coach Jason Reuter, now 9-0 against the Lady Blue Raiders, has emphasized his talented post players – they also combined for 26 rebounds against Cleveland – throughout the season and he’s not about to change his thinking in the postseason.

“They’ve led us in scoring all year,” Reuter said, now 84-10 since taking over the Bearettes’ helm. “You got to dance with who brought you to the dance. We’re not going to change our philosophy on who’s going to get the most looks.”

Bradley Central (25-2), which won its 39th straight game against district opponents, will host Cumberland County (20-11) on Friday in quarterfinal region action. Cumberland lost, 60-37, to White County in the District 6-AA tournament consolation game.

Cleveland (18-9) will stay at home, as well, entertaining White County (19-11).

McMinn County beat Walker Valley, 44-39, in Monday’s consolation game. The Lady Cherokees (19-8), who held the Lady Mustangs scoreless in the third quarter, will play at Coffee County (15-14) on Friday while Walker Valley (15-15) travels to Cookeville (21-10). Cookeville beat Coffee County, 49-38, for the 6-AAA title.

Boys consolation and championship games are on tap Tuesday.

Top-seed Ooltewah, shocked by Walker Valley guard Caio Hysinger’s half-court miracle shot at the final buzzer in a semifinal thriller on Saturday, tries to rebound from that heart-breaking 62-59 loss against second-seeded Cleveland at 6 p.m. to determine third place.

At 7:30 p.m., No. 3 seed Bradley Central plays No. 4 Walker Valley in the championship game.

Ooltewah and Cleveland split their regular-season games. The Owls won at home 64-62 and the Blue Raiders took a 68-60 decision at the Raider Dome. Owls coach Jesse Nayadley is 3-10 against Cleveland while Blue Raiders coach Jason McCowan has an 11-4 mark against Ooltewah.

In the three previous seasons, the Owls won one tournament title in 2011 and finished second in 2010 and 2012.

Bears coach Kent Smith and Mustangs coach Bob Williams have ties to the past. Williams was an assistant coach on Smith’s first staff at Bradley Central in 1996-97. Williams has won two district tournament titles in nine seasons at Walker Valley, both coming against Bradley in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.

Bradley, led by senior guard Bryce Copeland, Brooke’s brother, is seeking its 10th tournament title in 17 seasons under Smith.

The Bearettes jumped out to a quick 14-6 lead, but the game turned into a catfight and Bradley struggled to get a 28-28 tie at halftime. Bradley was up 22-17, but the Lady Blue Raiders nine of the game’s next 11 points to zip into a 26-25 lead.

Two Cleveland free throws by Aetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad, who scored 11 points, knotted the game at 28-all with 37.9 seconds left.

Both teams struggled to score in the third quarter – Bradley put up seven points – due to solid defense and extremely physical play.

“It was rough out there,” Rebecca Reuter said. “You could tell the Cleveland girls really wanted it and they were coming after us. We held our composure, though. Brooke likes to get into it, but she stayed pretty calm tonight. I’m proud of her.”

Reuter’s father, the coach, agreed play got rough.

“I thought the refs let some things go at times, but at tournament time my history tells me they usually let you play a little more physical. We only played six kids, but it was a big team win. We usually play more than that, but things are a little different at tournament time.”

Copeland, Reuter and Withrow, who scored 11 points, played the entire game. Brandi Whitted and Whitney McDonald got a breather now and then. Baylee Carroll was the only reserve to see playing time.

Cleveland coach Mindy Kiser, 0-6 against the Bearettes in her two seasons, had a distinct defensive game plan ready for the Bearettes – varied defensive alignments throughout the game, and that strategy clearly bothered Bradley.

“I think Cleveland changed defenses every trip down the floor,” Reuter said. “I thought our girls did a nice job adjusting in the second half. The girls have to recognize the defenses and be in the right spot. We even worked on a 1-3-1 zone a little bit in practice (Sunday) just to give them a different look.”

Said Kiser: “We changed defenses a lot. A couple times we changed on the same possession. We couldn’t become stagnant and wanted to keep an element of surprise, maybe expose some things and keep them off balance. We even worked on a 1-3-1 zone a little in practice (Sunday) just to give them a different look.”

Reuter hit a baseline jumper to start the fourth quarter, but Cleveland’s Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad drove the baseline for a layup and Shawnia Anderson had a put-back goal to cut Bradley’s lead to 37-36 with 6:26 left.

Bradley scored the next seven points – Withrow drilled a big-time 3 from the left corner and Copeland hit a baby hook from the lane and a layup for a 44-36 lead with 3:36 remaining. That matched the Bearettes’ biggest lead of the game.

After Anderson’s bucket, the Lady Blue Raiders failed to score over the next 2 minutes, 30 seconds – the Bearettes were pulling the ball out, running precious time off the clock during that span. Abdullah-Muhammad’s steal near mid-court that turned into a driving layup ended Cleveland’s offensive drought.  

Bradley used 7-of-8 free-throw shooting over the final 1:51 to preserve the hard-earned victory.

“I thought in the fourth quarter we got tired around the 4-minute mark,” Kiser said. “We lost our legs, had a couple of bad possessions in that time and they scored a couple times.”

Sydnie Anderson led Cleveland with 16 points, including three 3s.

Walker Valley sliced McMinn County’s lead to 35-32 midway through the fourth period, but the Lady Cherokees answered with 10 straight points to push the margin back to 10 points with 3:06 remaining.

Madison Dispensa led McMinn County with 13 points and KeKe Smith had 11.

Kathleen Alomar paced the Lady Mustangs with 11 points.

 

SUMMARIES

 

Consolation Game

 

Walker Valley                                11 0 7 21 – 39    

 

McMinn County                             10 7 16 11 – 44  

 

Walker Valley (39) – Watson 4, Macon 9, Griffith 3, Davis 7, Jones 1, Mowery 2, Kathleen Alomar 11, Percy.

 

McMinn County (44) – Ward 7, Burke 5, Madison Dispensa 13, Guardiola 7, KeKe Smith 11.

 

3-Point Goals – Walker Valley 3 (Macon, Davis, Alomar); McMinn County 2 (Guardiola, Smith).

 

Championship Game

 

Bradley Central                             18 10 7 16 – 51

 

Cleveland                                          14 14 4 11 – 43

 

Bradley Central (51) – Kayla Withrow 12, Carroll, Donaldson 2, Whitted 3, Brooke Copeland 19, Rebecca Reuter 14.

 

Cleveland (43) – Berry 8, Ware, A. Abdullah-Muhammad 2, Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad 11, Sydnie Anderson 16, Anderson 4.

 

3-Point Goals: Bradley Central 2 (Withrow 2); Cleveland 5 (Anderson 3, Berry 2).

 

All-District 5-AAA Tournament Team

 

Kayla Withrow                                                  Bradley Central

 

Brooke Copeland                                              Bradley Central

 

Rebecca Reuter                                                 Bradley Central

 

Sydnie Anderson                                              Cleveland

 

Atarah Abdullah-Muhammad                          Cleveland

 

Qetuwrah Abduallah-Muhammad                   Cleveland

 

Haley Ward                                                       McMinn County

 

Alisa Guardiola                                                 McMinn County

 

Peyton Davis                                                      Walker Valley

 

Jaclyn Griffith                                                    Walker Valley

 

Julie Brown                                                        Rhea County

 

Sydney Orr                                                          Soddy-Daisy 


Ashunti Cooper                                                 Ooltewah


All-District 5-AAA Team (Regular Season)

Kayla Withrow                                   Bradley Central

Brooke Copeland                               Bradley Central (MVP)

Rebecca Reuter                                 Bradley Central

Atarah Abdullah-Muhammad            Cleveland

Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad       Cleveland

Jenna Scoggins                                  Cleveland

KeKe Smith                                        McMinn County

Alisa Guardiola                                  McMinn County

Haley Ward                                        McMinn County

Julie Brown                                        Rhea County

Amber Levi                                        Rhea County

Lyndsey Macon                                  Walker Valley

Leondra Barrett                                 Ooltewah

Coach of the Year: Tim McPhail, McMinn County

Tuesday’s Schedule

Boys

Seed In Parenthesis

6 p.m. – (1) Ooltewah vs. (2) Cleveland, consolation

7:30 p.m. – (4) Walker Valley vs. (3) Bradley Central, championship

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com)



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