Bradley Central Routs McMinn County, 62-38, For Fourth Straight 5-AAA Tourney Title
Copeland Powers Bearettes With 26 Points, 15 Rebounds In Strong Effort
Monday, February 17, 2014
- by Larry Fleming
Senior Brooke Copeland registered an impressive double-double, Bradley Central’s zone defense stymied McMinn County in the second half and the Bearettes posted a dominating 62-38 victory Monday to capture their fourth consecutive District 5-AAA basketball tournament championship at East Hamilton High School.
0001pt;">“We realized McMinn would come at us with everything they had because it's Bradley and the championship game,” said Copeland, who scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. “I told the girls this is winning time and it’s time to get our fourth straight district championship.”
Copeland said Saturday after the team’s 35-point win over rival Cleveland that the Bearettes haven’t gotten much respect this season and came into the tournament with a “huge chip” on their shoulders. It didn’t shrink any Monday.
Bradley won two tournament games by a combined score of 125-66.
The other half of Bradley’s “Twin Tower” post tandem, Rebecca Reuter, said the Bearettes maybe got their point across in the two lop-sided wins.
“Winning our fourth straight district feels great,” senior post Rebecca Reuter said. “I don’t think we’re very respected around here either, but I hope this shows everyone that we should be receiving more than we’ve been getting in my four years.
The Bearettes (22-5), who have won 11 in a row, advance to their 30th straight Region 3-AAA appearance – 56th in 57 years. They will host the District 6-AAA consolation game loser, either Cookeville or Rhea County, on Friday night at 7 p.m. in Jim Smiddy Arena.
In the 6-AAA semifinals on Monday, White County beat Cookeville, 59-52, and Cumberland County defeated Rhea County, 74-70. The 6-AAA girls championship and consolation games will be played Tuesday night at Cookeville High School.
McMinn (11-17) will be at home against the Cookeville-Rhea County winner. Walker Valley (19-11) beat Cleveland (13-14) by 52-44 for third place and both of those teams will be on the road for Friday games.
On Tuesday night at East Hamilton, Walker Valley (20-9) and Cleveland (17-7) play for the 5-AAA boys championship after Ooltewah (15-10) takes on Bradley Central in the third-place game. The 6-AAA boys title and consolations will be played on Wednesday.
The Bearettes have won 17 straight and coach Jason Reuter is 12-0 all-time against the Lady Cherokees used a dominating second half performance in which they outscored their title-game foes 34-17.
Bradley Central led 28-21 at halftime and Chelsie Summars drilled a 3-pointer to start the third quarter for an eight-point lead.
Reuter switched to a 2-3 zone defense and the Bearettes went on a 14-4 run – Copeland, the district’s regular season most valuable player who has scored more than 2,000 points and has signed with the University of Florida, and Rebecca Reuter each scored five points and freshman Emma Kate Brown had four in the spurt – to put the Lady Cherokees in a 45-27 hole going into the fourth quarter.
Displaying her shooting touch away from the hoop, Reuter ripped a 3 that capped the run with 1:22 left in the third.
“We came out of the locker room planning to man them,” said coach Reuter, 110-16 in four seasons. “I made the decision about 30 seconds before they threw the ball in. Sometimes you go with your gut.
“McMinn is a good team, but I knew they didn’t like to be zoned so I wanted to see how they would react. They’re taking 30 seconds off the clock on just about every possession and my lead is growing. It also gave us a chance to rest a little bit.”
Bradley – the last time it didn’t play in the region was the 1983-84 season and that was the only time legendary coach Jim Smiddy failed to advance past the district tourney – was able to maintain a double-digit lead that ranged from 18 to 26 points the rest of the game.
“I thought our inability to make shots against their zone really hurt,” said McMinn County coach Tim McPhail, who was coaching his 200th game with the Lady Cherokees – he has a 76-124 record (54-50 at McMinn) in seven seasons and is 1-17 against Bradley. “They have the ability to get on a roll and they did. You have to play a great game to beat that bunch. We played well for a half and then the wheels came off.”
Still, the Lady Cherokees were appearing in their first district tourney title game since 2004 when they were runner-up to Cleveland. They hadn’t qualified for the region tournament since 2005.are making their first region tournament appearance since 2005. This was their first trip to the district tourney title game since 2004.
Copeland, who scored 10 of Bradley’s 16 first-quarter points, felt the Bearettes’ zone changed the game, while at the same time, did nothing to slow the team’s offensive assault.
“The zone was very effective,” she said. “They couldn’t get what they wanted offensively. They were setting a lot of screens, but we communicated well and were reaching the corners, reaching their shooters and stopping the drives a lot more.”
Copeland had 15 points at halftime, just five less than McMinn County’s team, and scored the Bearettes’ final five points in the second quarter, including a jumper with 3.2 seconds on the clock.
Reuter scored 14 points and five rebounds.
Rachel Simbeck paced McMinn County with 11 points.
KeKe Smith, the backbone of the Lady Cherokees’ offense, was held to five points and Reuter credited the zone for holding her down.
“When KeKe can’t drive, shoot or kick it out it shuts them down,” she said. “She’s like a big part of their offense. The key is to shut KeKe down and not let (Rachel) Burke shoot.”
The Bearettes have beaten McMinn County three times this season by an average margin of 22.3 points.
Walker Valley 52, Cleveland 44: The Lady Mustangs were frustrated by numerous turnovers from less-than-crisp passes that resulted in easy baskets for the Lady Blue Raiders.
A 10-2 run capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Victoria Jones and Lindsay Macon’s jumper from the right wing to close the second quarter produced a 41-30 Walker Valley halftime lead.
With turnovers piling up, Walker Valley’s advantage was sliced to 44-38 on Jenna Scoggins’ free throw with 3:07 left in the game.
But the Lady Mustangs went on a 6-0 run – Macon had four points and Jones one – to seal the deal.
Jones scored a game-high 18 points, including five 3s. Jacklyn Griffith added 15.
Nora Berry and Scoggins each scored 12 points and Bre Ware had 11 for the Lady Blue Raiders.
McMinn County 10 11 6 11 – 38
Bradley Central 16 12 17 17 – 62
McMinn County (38) – Cornett, Wilson 7, Rachel Simbeck 11, Burke 6, Maddron, Dispensa, Kelley 5, Thompson, Smith 5, Robinson 4.
Bradley Central (62) – Hughes 7, Davis 4, K. Brown, E.K. Brown 6, Stallings, Brooke Copeland 26, Delane, Summars 5, Rebecca Reuter 14, Brumfiel, McRee.
3-Point Goals – McMinn County 4 (Wilson, Simbeck, Kelley, Smith), Bradley Central 2 (Simmons, Reuter).
Cleveland 8 12 11 13 – 44
Walker Valley 19 12 10 11 – 52
Cleveland (44) – Nora Berry 12, Bre Ware 11, Jenna Scoggins 12, Morman 2, Phillips 1, Person 2, McClendon 4.
Walker Valley (52) – Victoria Jones 18, Percy 2, Lindsey Macon 10, Jacklyn Griffith 15, Alomar 5, Davis, Mowery 2.
3-Point Goals – Cleveland 3 (Berry 2, Scoggins 1), Walker Valley 8 (Jones 5, Griffith 3).
All-District 5-AAA Team (Regular Season)
MVP – Brooke Copeland, Bradley Central
Coach of the Year – Jessica Stone, Walker Valley
Rebecca Reuter, Bradley Central
Lindsey Macon, Walker Valley
Jacklyn Griffith, Walker Valley
Victoria Jones, Walker Valley
KeKe Smith, McMinn County
Rachel Simbeck, McMinn County
Rachel Burke, McMinn County
Nora Berry, Cleveland
Jenna Scoggins, Cleveland
Hannah Harris, Soddy-Daisy
Rhyne Howard, East Hamilton
Indian Corley, Ooltewah
District 5-AAA All-Tournament Team
Bradley Central – Brooke Copeland, Rebecca Reuter, Chelsie Summars
McMinn County – KeKe Smith, Rachel Burke, Rachel Simbeck
Walker Valley – Kathleen Alomar, Jaclyn Griffith
Cleveland – Nora Berry, Jenna Scoggins
Soddy-Daisy – Hannah Harris
East Hamilton – Rhyne Howard
Ooltewah – Hannah Henderson
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)