The Cleveland girls basketball team tuned up for their district opener against Bradley Central Monday night with a 66-9 win over The Howard School inside Raider Arena.
Addison Hurst and Paige Moody paced the Lady Raiders (5-0) with 11 points and a 3-pointer each and cheered their teammates as they say out the second half. Lauren Hurst finished her night with 10 points and joined Moody and Hurst the final two quarters.
“They obviously are a rebuilding program. It gave our kids the opportunity to get out there and play a little bit and shake some of the Thanksgiving rust off. We needed to work on some zone offense stuff and we looked a a few different things we might not normally do. It was good from that aspect,” said Lady Raiders coach Tony Williams.
“To see our kids smiling and cheering on their teammates, it's one of those program builders because everybody gets to get out there and play. All those kids work hard. To be able to get some varsity action and run up and down the floor says a lot.”
Cleveland opened a quick 15-point lead and finished the first eight minutes with a healthy 25-5 advantage. The Lady Raiders added 24 points in the second half while holding Howard (1-2) scoreless to take a 47-five lead into halftime.
“We're a program that's growing. We just came off a good home win right before Thanksgiving,” said Lady Tigers head coach Rickey Jones. “We also knew the team we were coming in to face tonight was a solid program that's been solid for a while. I think we'll be ready again tomorrow. We go up against an East Ridge team that we can compete well against and we're looking for a victory tomorrow.”
With the second line coming in to start the second half, the Lady Raiders' bench tacked on 12 points and carried a 59-6 margin to the final eight minutes. With the mercy rule in effect, Cleveland finished up with seven fourth quarter points added to the final total.
The Lady Raiders now turn their attention to a huge test at home Friday when perennial power Bradley Central pays a visit to Raider Arena for an early District 5-4A showdown.
“Bradley won a state championship a couple of years ago, but to be honest this is probably the best Bradley team I've seen from the standpoint of having all the pieces,” Williams said. “They have bigs inside and have guards that can shoot it and guards that can handle it. They execute to pretty much perfection. We feel like we've got a pretty good club, but that's going to be an early season test for us.”
Howard 5 0 1 3 — 9
Cleveland 23 24 12 7 — 66
Howard (9) — Owens 1, Holloway 3, Shumate 2, Knox 2, Robinson 1.
Cleveland (66) — Tanner 6, Addison Hurst 11, Paige Moody 11, Y. Rodriguez 2, Lee 3, I. Rodriguez 2, Lauren Hurst 10, Johnson 4, Westfield 4, Smith 6, J. Tanner 3, Letner 2.
3-point goals: Howard 1 (Holloway); Cleveland 2 (A. Hurst, Moody).
Records: Howard 1-2; Cleveland 5-0.