Bradley rallies come up short
For the first time in nearly five years, both Bradley Central basketball teams came out on the short side of the Jim Smiddy Arena scoreboard on the same night Monday.
Both Black-and-Gold squads outscored the Bearden visitors in three of the four periods, but each also fell into holes from which, even though they clawed and scratched their way back into the contest, they couldn't fully climb out of. The last time the Bear squads were swept on their home floor was Dec. 11, 2009, at the hands of archrival Cleveland High.
With the lead changing hands five times, the first half of the girls' contest was nip-and-tuck as neither team led by more than four points.
Bradley held two-point edges at the end of the first period (13-11) and when the teams went to the locker rooms at the half (22-20).
The difference in the outcome of the game came when the girls from Knoxville exploded for the first 10 points of the second half and then matched the Bearettes the rest of the frame for an eight-point (40-32) edge heading into the final period.
Once again Bearden dominated early, putting nine of the first 11 fourth quarter points on the scoreboard, before the hosts rallied for 18 points in the final 3:30, including 3-pointers by junior Katie Brown and sophomore Halle Hughes in the last 16.5 seconds to put the difference at four points when the final horn blared.
"We ran into a solid team tonight," proclaimed Bearette head coach Jason Reuter. "We only shot 32 percent (12-of-38) from two-point area, but we did make half of our 3's (7-for-14). We got outrebounded (35-32) and we turned the ball over too much (18 times). The figures don't lie."
"We've got a bunch of puppies out here that have a lot of growing up to do, but I'm proud of them," he added. "We got our butts kicked in the first three minutes of the second half and we fought back to win the rest of the game. We never quit. We kept fighting and turned a 14-point deficit with three-and-half minutes to pull within four points of a win."
"We missed some shots, but we didn't let that stop us. We are building a foundation for the future," the coach concluded. "We struggled with our continuity some, and we've got to make better decisions as to when to drive and when to shoot. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We'll get there. We've already got what we need most — heart, determination and desire."
Hughes led the way for Bradley with 18 points, including a trio of "treys," three rebounds, a pair of assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
Brown collected 10 points, with a pair of long-range bombs, three caroms, a steal and a help.
Sophomore Sydney Morgan hit three of her four shots from the field, one of which was from behind the arc, for seven points, plus she snagged a pair of ricochets and copped a pair of thefts.
Freshman Ryhne Howard, who scorched the nets for 24 points in her Bearette debut Friday, was held to seven points, but she pulled down a half dozen boards and handed out three assists.
Sophomore Kailey McRee was the chairwoman of the boards with nine rebounds, to go with four points. Juniors Julia Gaither and Brittany Boring had a trio of caroms to go with four and two points respectively.
The Lady Bulldogs shot 40 percent from the field (18-of-45) with a trio of players reaching double figures — Trinity Lee (13), Holly Hagood (13) and Madison Bice (11). Bearden also held a distinct advantage at the free-throw line, hitting 18 of 27 chances (67 percent), while the hosts made 8-of-11 (73 percent).
Bearden 11 9 20 17 — 57
Bradley Central 13 9 10 21 — 53
LADY BULLDOGS (57) — Jaiden McCoy 10, Hudson 9, Freeman 5, Woodford 4, A. McMurry, McKenzie, Kim, Mabry, McMichael, K. McMurry, Bourne.
BEARETTES (53) — Halle Hughes 18, Katie Brown 10, Morgan 8, Howard 7, Gaither 4, McRee 4, Boring 2, Davis.
3-POINTERS: Bearden 3 (Hagood 2, Lee); Bradley 7 (Hughes 3, Brown 2, Morgan, Howard).
FREE THROWS: Bearden 18-of-27; Bradley 8-of-11.
RECORDS: Bearden 4-1; Bradley 1-1.
Read more: Cleveland Daily Banner - Bradley rallies come up short
Bradley splits home openers
Both Bradley Central basketball teams netted 54 points in their season openers Friday, but the results were split.
The new-look Bearettes got off to a slow start but were able to hold Farragut to single-digit scoring in each period to claim a 54-28 victory.
Facing their second set of Knoxville teams in a four-day span, both Bradley teams will be in action Monday evening when Bearden comes to Jim Smiddy Arena.
The Bearettes will also host the Holiday Inn Express Classic Friday and Saturday with McMinn Central, Hamilton Heights and Central Park Christian, out of Alabama.
After missing their first five shots Friday evening, the Bradley girls got the initial basket of the new season on an offensive rebound putback by newcomer Ryhne Howard three minutes into the contest.
The Bearettes (1-0) went up 8-5 a few minutes later on a Katie Brown 3-pointer, before Farragut (0-3) scored the final four points of the frame for a 9-8 edge.
The hosts took control of the contest in the second period with half of their eight 3-pointers on the night as part of a 14-3 run and a double-digit halftime advantage.
Bradley came out strong after the intermission and increased their lead with an 18-7 scoring edge in the third period before finishing off the win a 14-9 run in the final eight minutes.
"We really didn't know what to expect tonight, but the effort was there and we played smarter as we went along," assessed head coach Jason Rueter, who is starting his fifth season directing the program.
"We have a lot of new faces, plus we were missing one of our starters with EK (Emma Kate Brown) in a boot," he added. "Our bench gave us some good minutes and we did a good job against their big girl (6-foot-2 Jaiden McCoy)."
With Bradley's 6-foot-2 "Twin Towers" graduated, the star of the night was Howard, who transfered in after playing varsity as an eighth-grader last year at East Hamilton.
The 5-foot-11 freshman is playing point guard for the Black-and-Gold and ripped the chords for 24 points, including a trio of 3-pointers.
"Rhyne's performance doesn't surprise me. I've seen that she's capable of this kind of game," commented Coach Reuter. "She did a good job of running our offense and only had one turnover."
Along with shooting 6-for-10 in front of the arc and 3-for-6 beyond it, Howard cleared nine rebounds, dished out four assists and copped a trio of steals.
Julia Gaither helped out with 10 points in the victory on 4-for-7 shooting from the field. The junior also swiped five thefts.
Sophomore Halle Hughes added nine points, three caroms, dished off a trio of "dimes," and snatched a pair of steals.
Brittany Boring, a 6-foot-1 transfer from Tellico Plains, came off the bench to clear five rounds for the victors.
As a team, the Bearettes shot 38 percent from the field, including 8-for-21 from beyond the 19-foot arc, plus won the rebounding battle by a 37-30 margin.
Both teams struggled from the free throw line as Bradley sank just 6-of-19, while the Lady Admirals netted only 7-of-21.
The Bearette defense held Farragut to just 10-of-40 shooting from the field and forced 24 turnovers.