The Jim Smiddy Arena proved to give the Bradley Central Bears and Bearettes the home court advantage they needed to overcome the Cookeville Cavaliers and Lady Cavaliers on Saturday night.
The fifth-ranked Bearettes played hard against the Lady Cavaliers in a quick paced, back-and-forth game. In the end, they would manage to come out on top 55-51.
“I hope this is a learning opportunity,” Bradley Central head coach Jason Reuter said of the tough game.
Meanwhile the Bears were able to exact some revenge for a one-point loss, with a 57-44 thumping of the Cavaliers.
Although the Bearettes won the tip off, the visitors scored first point with a free throw, but red-hot Brooke Copeland would make a 3-pointer getting her squad on the board.
The Lady Cavs answered with a tying basket of their own, only to see Bradley come back with two baskets.
Hannah Goolsby would register a 3-pointer for the Lady Cavs, only to see the momentum once again shift in favor of the Bearettes as Whitney Donaldson put the hosts up 10-6 with a 3-point basket. The first period ended with the Bearettes up by three points.
Bradley extended its lead by two more points as the second period opened up, and the Lady Cavs attempted to stall the lead by registering another 3-pointer followed by another two point basket, evening up the score at 15-15 with just over five minutes left in the second frame.
After another 3-pointer the Lady Cavs would finally take a one point edge and holding that for a 22-21 halftime advantage.
The game of cat-and-mouse continued on into the second half for the Bearettes, as it seemed the Lady Cavs were always two points ahead of them.
Bradley was able to retake the lead with just under three minutes left in the third, and ended the period with a 34-31 edge.
The Lady Cavs put up quite a fight coming into the fourth period and had the game all tyed up 40-40 at the five minute mark.
Thanks to the numerous fouls both teams were able to chip away at the scoreboard, although this ended up working more in the Bearettes favor.
“We had a lot of foul shots and we made a lot of stops,” Reuter said of his team’s efforts.
With her team down by a half dozen, a technical foul on Cookeville coach Mindy Odom with just under a minute left, which gave Bradley the opportunity to preserve the win.
After pouring in 29 points in Friday night’s victory over Walker Valley, Copeland pumped in another 21 points on Saturday.
Donaldson helped out with 14 points, while Rebecca Reuter added 13 to the winning total.
Recent Tennessee Tech signee Goolsby led Cookeville with 25 points.
“I’m fortunate to have kids who are playing hard. It’s not always easy,” coach Reuter admitted of the Bearettes hard fought win.
Bradley was able to get a payback win against Cookeville after their prior 53-52 loss on Dec. 15.
The Bears would pull off a 57-44 victory over the Cavaliers, giving them some much needed vindication.
“I’m still not going to tell you that we’ve turned a corner,” said head coach Kent Smith. “I’m proud of them.”
By the end of the first period, the Cavaliers led 13-8. The Bears fought back to regain the advantage and didn’t give it back, claiming a 25-16 edge at the half.
“I was really excited about our start,” Smith admitted.
The second half began with the Bears registering back-to-back 3 pointers to extend their lead to 31-16.
The Cavaliers would finish the game attempting to play catch-up, but were never able to catch the raging Bears thanks to their impressive defensive work.
“We didn’t have any defensive lapses tonight,” Smith explained.
Bryce Copeland led the Bears with 23 points, followed by Taylor Bentley with 13 and Logan Cox with 10.
Cookeville had 12 points contributed by Trey Henderson.
According to their coach, the Bears have earned a day off and will come back Monday ready to prepare for their rival game against Cleveland High on Tuesday.
Cookeville 10 12 9 20 — 51
Bradley Central 13 8 13 21 — 55
LADY CAVALIERS (51) — Hannah Goolsby 25, Sydney Robinson 14, Marek 4, Turner 7, Odom 1
BEARETTES (55) — Withrow 3, Whitney Donaldson 14, Whitted 4, Brooke Copeland 21, Rebecca Reuter 13
3-point goals: Cookeville 5 (Goolsby 3, Robinson 2); Bradley 3 (Donaldson, Copeland, Withrow).
Free throws: Cookeville 14-of-16; Bradley 22-of-35.
Records: Cookeville 11-9; Bradley Central 16-1.
Cookeville 8 8 15 13 — 44
Bradley Central 13 12 19 13 — 57
CALVALIERS(61) — Campbell 5, Payne 5, Trey Henderson 12, Carver 3, Ledbetter 7, Case 6, Roder 6.
BEARS (73) — Bryce Copeland 23, Logan Cox 10, Whitmire 3, Taylor Bentley 13, Cain 8,
3-point goals: Cookeville 2 (Campbell, Roder); Bradley 6 (Copeland 2, Cox 2, Bentley 2).
Free throws: Cookeville 10-of-18; Bradley 9-of-14.
Records: Cookeville 17-4; Bradley Central 9-8.