While the severe winter weather prevented former All-American Jody Adams from being able to fly in for the Bearette Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, her former team matched its highest offensive output of the season in a 74-52 victory over longtime rival McMinn County, while the Bears remained perfect in District 5-AAA play with a 55-38 win over the struggling Cherokees.
Despite being grounded in Kansas, Adams, who is the head coach at Wichita State University, was represented at the ceremonies by several members of her family, who accepted the Hall of Fame plaque on her behalf.
Former Bearette two-time all-stater Sandra (Dixon) Shourd was also inducted and was present with many family members as well.
The current Bradley squads will continue district play Friday evening in key battles against crosstown rivals Cleveland High at Walker Arena on the Lee University campus. The Bearettes (17-5, 7-1 District 5-AAA) and Lady Raiders (9-8, 4-3) will tip off at 6:30 p.m., with the Bears (12-7, 8-0) and Blue Raiders (10-5, 5-2) to follow at 8.
Despite a season-high 32 turnovers, having their McDonald’s All-American nominee play less than a quarter due to foul trouble and falling behind 5-0 to start the game, the Bearettes overcame the obstacles to claim the 22-point victory Tuesday evening.
After McMinn (5-15, 5-3) drilled a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to open the contest, Bradley’s defense stiffened and didn’t allow another Lady Cherokee point until early in the second period.
The Bearettes scored 20 unanswered points, including 10 by freshman Halle Hughes, to jump out to a 15-point advantage by the first horn, but the Lady Cherokees put up a 21-point second period to close the gap to single digits (35-26) at the half.
Bradley pushed its edge to 13 points by the close of the third frame and then exploded for its most productive eight-minute span of the evening with a 26-17 scoring run in the final period.
“We had too many unforced errors and turned the ball over way too much (32 times), but we didn’t panic,” declared Bradley coach Jason Reuter. “It was kind of a weird game.”
“Brooke (Copeland) got into foul trouble, but other players stepped up. Becca (Reuter) shot the ball well, dominated the boards and had a good game,” the coach said of his daughter. “We had several girls come off the bench and play well tonight also.”
Rebecca Reuter drained 7-of-8 shots from the two-point area on her way to a career high 20 points, plus the 6-foot-2 post who has signed to play for Middle Tennessee State pulled down 15 caroms, handed out a pair of assists and blocked a shot.
Hughes came off the bench to score in double figures for the fourth straight game, finishing with 17 points, going 4-for-5 in front of the arc and 2-of-3 beyond it. She also battled for five rebounds, handed out a trio of assists, copped a pair of steals and blocked a shot.
Sophomore Julia Gaither helped out with 10 points, a half dozen ricochets and a trio of thefts, while Copeland hit 3-of-5 close range shots and grabbed three boards in her very limited playing time.
Freshman Emma Kate Brown also struggled with foul trouble, but finished with five points, five assists, three rebounds and a pair of steals. Junior Chelsie Summars also netted four points and handed out seven “dimes,” while senior Mady Stallings also had four markers and gave out five helps.
As a team, the Bearettes’ outstanding offensive performance saw them sink 70 percent (21-of-30) of their two-point attempts, shoot 87 percent (26-for-30) at the free-throw line and make 2-of-6 3-pointers. Bradley also outrebounded the visitors by a 31-17 margin. The two teams combined for 54 turnovers and 42 fouls in the contest.
BEARS 55, CHEROKEES 38
In the boys’ game, McMinn (2-17, 1-7) started out strong, maintaining a narrow lead throughout the opening frame for an 11-10 edge when the first buzzer sounded.
Bradley wasn’t able to take the lead until senior Taylor Bentley drained a pair of free throws with 5:16 remaining in the first half, but the Tribe retook the advantage for a few more minutes before the hosts scored the final seven points of the half to take a 25-19 advantage into the locker room at the intermission.
The Bears were able to push their lead to double digits (37-27) by the end of the third period and closed out the night with their best offensive span with an 18-11 scoring advantage in the final frame.
“Anytime Bradley and McMinn play, you can through out the team records. It’s going to be a dogfight,” declared Bear head coach Chuck Clark. “McMinn put up a good fight and we won ugly tonight. I’m proud of my guys.”
“They (the Bear players) have bought into what being a part of the Bradley family is all about,” he added. “Our guys aren’t selfish and we are playing like a team. We’ve had seven different guys lead us in scoring this season. Teams can’t key on just one person.”
The Bears had a trio of players score in double figures in the victory with senior Taylor Bentley leading the way with 17 points, including going a perfect 8-for-8 at the free-throw line, plus hitting 3-of-4 two-point attempts.
Freshman Cole Copeland came off the bench to garner a dozen points, plus he grabbed eight rebounds, handed out three assists, copped a trio of steals and blocked a shot.
Junior Daniel Clark collected 11 points, seven caroms, three thefts and a pair of helps in the victory, while sophomore Bradley McCurdy added a half dozen points, dropped three “dimes” and pulled down three ricochets.
Bradley shot 61 percent (17-of-28) from two-point land and 88 percent (15-for-17) at the free-throw line, but made just 2-of-13 from long range. The Bears won the rebounding (26-20) and turnover (15-18) battles.
Bradley captured victory in both junior varsity games Tuesday with the Bears winning by a 60-48 margin, while the Bearettes claimed a 53-41 victory.
The JV boys raced out to a 32-20 halftime advantage before the two team matched each other the entire second half with 28 points apiece.
Rashad Marshall topped the Bear effort with 16 points, while Ty Beavers and Tyrell Pitner helped out with 11 and 10 respectively. Swan Parker and Peyton Parker both netted five points.
The JV Bearettes raced out to a 25-6 lead by the end of the opening frame before going up 40-13 at the half and coasting home for the 12-point win.
Julia Gaither topped he victors with 16 points, while Kaley Walker added 13. Sydney Morgan netted seven points, while Kailey McRee and Emily Colbaugh had a half dozen apiece. Savanna Davis pumped in five points.
McMinn County 5 21 9 17 — 52
Bradley Central 20 15 13 26 — 74
LADY CHEROKEES (52) — Rachel Simbeck 15, Keke Smith 12, Rachel Burke 11, Kelley 6. Wilson 6, Dispensa 2, Robinson, Thompson, Maddron.
BEARETTES (74) — Rebecca Reuter 20, Halle Hughes 17, Julia Gaither 10, Copeland 8, EK Brown 5, Stallings 4, Summars 4, Brumfield 4, McRee 2, Delane, K. Brown.
3-POINTERS: McMinn 3 (Wilson 2, Simbeck); Bradley 2 (Hughes 2).
FREE THROWS: McMinn 13-of-22; Bradley 26-of-30.
RECORDS: McMinn County 5-15, 5-3 District 5-AAA; Bradley 17-5, 7-1 District 5-AAA.
McMinn County 11 8 8 11 — 38
Bradley Central 10 15 12 18 — 55
CHEROKEES (38) — Brian Armstrong 15, Simpson 6, Spradling 6, Saxton 6, Marshall 3, Hammonds 2, Martin, Edgemon, Brown, Lawson.
BEARS (55) — Taylor Bentley 17, Cole Copeland 12, Daniel Clark 11, McCurdy 6, Gregory 5, Cox 2, Morgan 2, Crisp, Maroon, McGowan.
3-POINTERS: McMinn 2 (Armstrong, Marshall); Bradley 2 (Bentley, Clark).
FREE THROWS: McMinn 2-of-2; Bradley 15-of-17.
RECORDS: McMinn County 2-17, 1-7 District 5-AAA; Bradley 12-7, 8-0 District 5-AAA.