Bradley Central Girls Crush Cleveland In 3-4A Final, 75-43

Bearettes Host Oakland In Class 4A Sectional

  • Wednesday, February 28, 2024
  • Richard Roberts

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The defending state champion Bradley Central is one game away from returning to Murfreesboro. The Bearettes reached Saturday's sectional game handily defeating Cleveland in the Region 3-4A championship, 75-43, Wednesday inside “The Jim” at Bradley Central.

The Bearettes (30-1) will face off against Oakland at 7 p.m., to determine who travels to Murfreesboro for the state tournament.

“We landed the first punch there's no doubt,” Bearettes head coach Jason Reuter said of the 26-11 first quarter lead. “We wanted to do that, but sometimes you win fights when you don't land the first punch. Our kids got off to a great start. We got into a little bit of foul trouble, but nothing we couldn't handle. We had three starters with two at halftime, we go in at halftime with a 20 point lead.

The Bearettes fought through the whistles to score the victory even as Kimora Fields, who scored 18 points for the Bradley girls, exited the gave with five fouls with just over five minutes left to play.

Harmonie Ware led the Bearettes with 20 points, 12 from 3-point distance, followed by Avary Brewer with 15.

Cleveland's Illianis Rodriguez was the only Lady Raider in double figures with 11 points. Bradley held powerhouse Lauren Hurst, who also fouled out late, to just eight.

Love Howard put the Bearettes out front 41-21 with a 3-pointer at the buzzer capping a 15 point Bradley second quarter.

“Love Howard hit a big three right before the break. That was a crusher,” said Reuter.

The smothering Bradley defense kept the pressure on the Lady Raiders (22-9) in the third quarter holding Cleveland to just four points in the first four minutes of the second half while tacking on nine highlighted by a 3 from Ware that put the Bearettes on top 50-25. Bradley wrapped up the final four minutes of the third with an 11-1 run topped off by a Grae Phillips trey that upped the lead to 61-28.

The final eight minutes was little more than a formality as the Bearettes continued to dominate with Reuter substituting out his starters in the final minutes.

The Bearettes caused 24 Cleveland turnovers while committing 15, too many according to Reuter.

“We turned the ball over way too much, but we forced 24. We held Hurst again to eight. My kids did what I asked and when they do what you ask you'd better praise them because they need to hear it. They did what I asked,” he said. “They didn't play perfect. They had a few too many turnovers, but all-in-all a 32 point win in the region finals, you don't get too many of those.”

The Bearettes now turn their attention to Saturday and a shot at back-to-back state titles.

“I just know we're staying at home and that's worth 10 or 15 points, you don't have to travel and you're in your gym. You're comfortable. You're in your gym, you're in your locker room. It's your rims, your basketball,” Reuter stated. “Four wins away from a state title. Somebody's gonna take a gold ball, somebody's gonna be crying. Only one team is gonna celebrate, why not us?”

CHAMPIONSHIP SUMMARY

CLEVELAND

11

10

7

15

--43

BRADLEY CENTRAL

26

15

20

14

--75

CLEVELAND (43) – Tanner 8, Illianis Rodriguez 11, Hurst 8, Brewer, E. Smith 9, Copeland 5, Patterson 2, I. Smith, Clark.

BRADLEY CENTRAL (75) – Kimora Fields 18, Avary Brewer 15, Harmonie Ware 20, Wilcox 5, Stovall 8, Geren 3, Osborn, Howard 3, Phillips 3, Francis.

3-point goals: Cleveland 5 (Tanner 2, Rodriguez, E. Smith, Copeland); Bradley Central 10 (Brewer 2, Ware 4, Wilcox, Geren, Howard, Phillips).

Free Throws: Cleveland 6 of 8; Bradley Central 11 of 18.

Records: Cleveland 22-9; ; Bradley Central 30-1.

((Email Richard Roberts at richardvol55@yahoo.com)

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