Lee University’s Walker Arena played host to cross town rivals Bradley County High and Cleveland High’s boys and girls games. The Cleveland Blue Raiders won the boy's game 59-52 and Bradley won the girls game 67-51.
The boys games opened with both teams loose and up tempo offense and scrappy defense. Both teams struggled from the floor early and went into the second quarter with the Bears up 9-8. At just under eight minutes into the period the Bears' Bradley McCurdy went into the paint for two and a foul. McCurdy hit the free throw to put Bradley up 12-8 and set the tone for the quarter. The two teams went back and forth for most of the quarter, but Bradley was able to pull ahead via seven trips to the free throw line to zero free throws for the Raiders, and end the half up 24-21.
The second half began with more high speed play and even more physical defense. Cleveland’s Kendrick Thompson got into the lane for two and followed that with a steal and a trip to the line for another point to tie the game up thirty seconds into the half. The game proceeded to go back and forth as both began playing zone defense. With the Raiders up by three, Bradley’s Dee Crisp put back up a rebound and followed that with a short baseline jumper, to put the Bears up 33-32 with about three minutes to go. Cleveland answered with a lay-up from Thompson and a 3-pointer and a drive for two from Cantrell Ware, to take back the lead.
The final quarter opened with Cleveland going on a 10-8 run, leaving the score in their favor at 50-44, with four minutes left in the game. Bradley fought back behind some tough play post play and perimeter shooting, cutting the lead to three after Bradley’s Taylor Bentley hit a 3-pointer with just under two minutes left. Cleveland’s Thompson then got into the paint and took a foul. Thompson hit one of two free-throws, but then got a steal and took back down into the paint before dropping an assist to Isaiah Beaty hit a layup and took a foul resulting in a three point play that left the score at the 59-52 with about thirty seconds left. Bradley didn’t have an answer and that is how the game ended. Kendrick Thompson led all scorers with 22, while Cole Copeland led Bradley with 13.
In the girls match up, the Bears jumped out to an early lead and never looked back; winning the game 67-51 Bradley dominated the post and the paint, and forced the Lady Raiders work for their points from the perimeter. Bradley senior Brooke Copeland put up 40 points, as she scored seemingly at will. Bradley’s Rebecca Rueter posted a double-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. Nora Berry led Cleveland with 36 points that included six 3-pointers.