CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Arlington’s girls tried to join Houston as the headline teams in the second East-West Classic on Saturday night at Bradley Central High School.
Houston walloped East Hamilton, 76-49, in convincing fashion as coach Ben Moore continued to mold the Lady Mustangs into a perennial state championship contender.
In the second-to-next-last game on a seven-game card, Arlington took on Bradley Central in a battle pitting once-beaten teams that appeared in the 2017 Class 3A state tournament.
Despite playing without their best player, junior Anna Walker, the Bearettes put on a sterling “step up” performance and riddled Arlington, 53-32, as sophomore point guard Jamaryn Blair led all scorers with 21 points, six rebounds, four steals, two assists and four turnovers in about 30 minutes on the floor.
“We all were in shock when we heard about Anna earlier today,” Blair said. “We’re not used to playing without her, but we stepped up and played one of our best games of the season.”
The Lady Hurricanes were shock for other reasons as they left Jim Smiddy Arena after Houston torched them, 76-49.
“We didn’t deserve to win that game,” Lady Hurricanes coach Hunter Gremore said. “They were way better than us.”
Cleveland’s girls knocked off Bolton, 51-34, and Bailey Anderson led the Lady Blue Raiders with 11 points that included two 3-pointers.
East Hamilton’s Hurricanes bounced back from a 55-53 loss to Riverdale on Friday and routed Rhea County, 80-40, behind the combined 51 points from Jamaal Walker, Morrell Schramm, Darwin Randolph and Kyler Johnson. Coach Frank Jones played 13 players and 10 scored.
In the other boys’ games, host Bradley Central got a game-high 26 points from point guard Quanti Berry and edged Oak Ridge, 64-56, and Riverdale routed Bolton, 62-42.
Bradley girls 53, Arlington 32: Walker injured her foot during Friday’s win over Southwind and showed up with her teammates for pregame warm-ups in a walking boot on her left leg.
“I saw her come up grimacing, but didn’t think much about it at the time,” Bradley coach Jason Reuter said after Saturday’s game. “We were here early today and when we worked out a little to prepare for Arlington, she told she could barely walk on it. And she’s one of the toughest girls we have. I took her out of practice and she came back for the game wearing a jogging suit and wearing the walking boot. I knew somebody was going to have to step up.”
Blair, who has had an up-and-down season thus far, took the challenge. She scored 10 points in the first half as the Bearettes built a 25-18 lead, thanks in large part to a 10-0 run that lasted almost four minutes.
“I think that was Blair’s best game of the season,” Reuter said. “She gives us turbo boost off the dribble. If you come on top on her, she’ll get right past you and all of a sudden she’s making a layup.”
It was a back-and-forth third period and Bradley got solid offense as Hannah Lombard, Alexis Barnes (twice) and Blair knocked down 3s. Blair scored six points down the stretch, including a 3 that were the Bearettes final points.
“I’m going to play the lottery tomorrow and play the number 53,” Reuter said. “We’ve won three straight and scored 53 points in each of those games. But this win was not a fluke.”
The Bearettes beat district foe McMinn County on Tuesday, Southwind on Friday and Arlington on Saturday.
Over large portions of the third and fourth quarters, Bradley used its motion offense to run valuable time off the clock, and ran it almost perfectly.
“And they just let us run it,” Reuter said. “If you’re going to let us hold it, we’re going to hold it. We closed out the last four minutes.”
Lombard finished with 12 points.
Arlington failed to place a player in double figures and had their lowest point total of the season – by 16 points.
Bradley Central boys 64, Oak Ridge 56: Berry was terrific for the Bears. He got his 26 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the field; 1 of 3 on 3s and made 13 of 17 free throws.
In this game, Athens Association officials called 49 fouls and the teams shot 58 free throws. Brady went 22 of 33 from the line and Oak Ridge 13 of 25. Bradley had two players foul out – Tray Curry and Tyler Ferguson and three Wildcats – Marcus Smith, Javonte Thomas and Jeremy Miller. Curry also picked up a technical foul with 2:20 left in the game.
Mason Rothwell turned in a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Oak Ridge was paced by Smith’s 18 points.
East Hamilton boys 80, Rhea County 40: The Canes showed few ill-effects from Friday’s contest as they closed the first quarter on a 14-0 run and built a 39-25 halftime advantage. East Hamilton outscored the Golden Eagles by 14 points in the third, closing the quarter on a 22-8 offensive spree.
“We started slow because Riverdale took some steam out of us Friday,” Canes coach Frank Jones said, just before leaving the gym. “Rhea County was really aggressive and used a zone defense to push us outside, and we didn’t do a good job shooting the 3s. In the second half, we left the 3 alone, played better, adjusted on defense and they didn’t score a lot of points.”
Jones turned the final period over to reserves, but they kept on scoring while still pulling away from the frustrated Golden Eagles.
“I think overall we did well,” Jones said. “We were hoping to play some other kids because our starters have been playing a lot of minutes; it was a chance to give them some experience.”
A little rest could serve the Canes well, considering what’s ahead of them next week. They host Walker Valley on Tuesday and Bradley Central on Friday in stiff District 5-3A challenges.
“We can’t take anyone for granted and those games are going to be rough,” the Canes coach said.
As has been the custom of late, Walker paced the Canes’ with 17 points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists. Morrell Schramm scored 13 points, Darwin Randolph had 11 points and eight rebounds and Kyler Johnson added 10 points.
“Schramm is a developing player and he does a lot of things for the team,” Jones said. “He’s a very versatile player with a lot of energy. We’re trying to get him to harness some of that energy.”
Houston girls 76, East Hamilton 49: The Lady Mustangs’ lopsided win is easy to sum up.
Melisa Carter and Destinee Wells combined for 45 points on 18 of 27 shots and Houston shot almost 50 percent from the floor (31-63). Carter, who scored 24 points, added 10 rebounds. Houston clobbered the Lady Hurricanes, 50-22, in the paint and won the rebounding battle, 47-35.
“We went 0-3 in this event (the Classic) last year,” Moore said. “Jayla (Hemingway) and Madison Griggs were sophomores when I got here from being the boys’ coach at Wooddale. “Carter (point guard) was a freshman and probably the best player coming out of middle school. Now we’re loaded with juniors and seniors.”
“Loaded is the operative word.
In Moore’s first year, Houston went 27-3 and reached the state semifinals, losing to perennial champion Riverdale. After beating Bradley Central in the semifinals, Houston played Riverdale for the championship and came up short again.
Moore left Cleveland for the trip back to Memphis with an impressive 65-9 record in his back pocket.
East Hamilton (6-3) never led although the score was tied at 14-14 after one quarter and again at 17-all less than a minute into the second. Houston went on a 12-0 run and it only got worse for the Lady Canes.
Houston eventually built a 27-point advantage at game’s end.
“We played selfish basketball,” said Gremore, who came to East Hamilton after many years coaching boys and girls teams in the Memphis area. “We didn’t defend. Our body language was bad. Everything was bad. I think we played hard and didn’t just lay down.”
Dezah Lacy led East Hamilton with 16 points, McKenna Hayes tossed in 14 and Madison Hayes added 12. Madison Hayes and Eliziah Laboo fouled out in a poorly officiated game. Athens Association officials called a combined 50 fouls and the teams took 36 free throws. The same official called four lane violations. Fans may not see that many the rest of the season.
“This was a non-district game,” Gremore said. “We play a tough schedule and we might lose seven or eight more games. I’ll see the girls on Monday and we’ve got two touch district (5-3A) games next week against Walker Valley and Bradley Central. That will be our focus. The end of the year is everything.”
Bolton 11 8 10 13 – 42
Riverdale 15 17 12 18 – 62
Bolton (42) – Carter 6, Robertson 2, Gloster 4, Ryan 7, Crockett, Bathea, Jones 5, Jamarius Carter 12, K. Banks 4, T. Banks 2.
Riverdale (62) – Cobb 9, Perry 4, Thompson 9, Maliak McAllister 18, Brandon Siven 13, Johnson 2, Crawford 2, Wooden, McDaniel, Nelson 2, Whittington 3.
3-Point Goals – Bolton 1 (Ryan 1), Riverdale 3 (McAllister 2, Thompson 1).
Rhea County 11 14 8 7 – 40
East Hamilton 21 18 22 19 – 80
Rhea County (40) – Hunter Hill 14, Taylor, Kaleb Laws 17, Palermino, Guthrie 7, Harveston, Thunquist, Waldo 2, Allen, Vincent.
East Hamilton (80) – Jamaal Walker 17, Montgomery 8, Morrell Schramm 13, Long 3, Darwin Randolph 11, Kyler Johnson 10, S. Randolph 7, Rogers 2, Eller, Shropshire 5, Crawford, Karson4, Pendleton.
3-Point Goals – Rhea County none, East Hamilton 5 (Walker 1, Montgomery 1, D. Randolph 1, Shropshire 1, Karson 1).
Oak Ridge 14 18 12 12– 56
Bradley Central 14 17 16 17 – 64
Oak Ridge (56) – Marcus Smith 18, Thomas 6, Kesterson 8, Johnson 6, Miller 6, Booker 9, Stewart 1, S. Smith 2.
Bradley Central (64) – Quanti Berry 26, Boyd 3, Clark 8, Ferguson 6, Mason Rothwell 14, Greene, Wesley, Curry 5, Whaley, McCleary 2.
3-Point Goals – Oak Ridge 3 (Kesterson 2, M. Smith 1), Bradley Central 2 (Berry 1, Boyd 1).
Houston 14 21 19 22 – 76
East Hamilton 14 10 13 12 – 49
Houston (76) – Jayla Hemingway 12, Davis 5, Griggs 5, Destinee Wells 21, Melisa Carter 24, I. Wilson 6, A. Wilson 1, Westbrook 2.
East Hamilton (49) – Patton, Dezah Lacy 16, Madison Hayes12, McKenna Hayes 14, Laboo 4, Evans 3, Petitt, Johnson, Coppelano, Seder.
3-Point Goals – Houston 4 (Wells 2, Davis 1, Griggs 1), East Hamilton 5 (Mc. Hayes 4, Evans 1).
Southwind 13 14 16 13 – 56
Oak Ridge 18 9 13 18 – 58
Southwind (56) – Wright 4, Patton 4, Yaya Coleman 15, Shelbee Brown 25, Bolden 8, Salters, Chambers, Robinson.
Oak Ridge (58) – Khamari Mitchell-Steen 14, Bri Dunbar 17, Eckles 3, Shatyrah Copeland 13, Guinn 7, Davis 2, Hearon 2.
3-Point Goals – Southwind 2 (Wright 1, Coleman 1), Oak Ridge none.
Bolton 9 7 8 10 – 34
Cleveland 13 15 13 10 – 51
Bolton (34) – Keyonna Logan 17, Tipton 4, L. Wright 5, Simpson 4, Garner 2, Allen 2, Kelly, Gary, M. Wright.
Cleveland (51) – Dasher 2, Williams 6, Douglass 8, Bailey Anderson 11, Goldman 4, Rominger 2, Rouse, Brock 2, Alvarado 8, Person 4.
3-Point Goals – Bolton 2 (Logan 2), Cleveland 5 (Anderson 2, Williams 2, Alvarado 1).
Arlington 10 8 9 5 – 32
Bradley Central 13 12 16 12 – 53
Arlington (32) – Stewart 9, Nichols 2, Williams 6, Bates 7, Ca. Taylor, Ch. Taylor 4, Claybrooks 4, Williams, Dupree, Shanklin, Long.
Bradley Central (53) – Hughes 7, Roberts 5, Jamaryn Blair, Barnes 6, Hannah Lombard 12, Mayo 2, Reuter.
3-Point Goals – Arlington 2 (Stewart 1, Bates 1), Bradley Central 7 (Lombard 2, Barnes 2, Blair 1, Roberts 1, Hughes 1).
(Contact Larry Fleming at email@example.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)