TSSAA Class AAA Sectional
BLACKMAN 44, BRADLEY CENTRAL 27
Blackman 12 6 19 7 — 44
Bradley 9 7 5 6 — 27
Blackman (44) — T. Norris 4, Nowlin 2, Smith 2, Amy Duke 11, Brown, Knight, Keen, Cox 7, Chelsey Hall 16, Miller, M. Norris 2.
Bradley Central (27) — Withrow 3, Whitted, Carroll, Formont, Beavers 4, Copeland 6, Smith 9, McCracken 2, Reuter, Hammond 3.
3-point goals: Blackman 2 (Hall 2); Bradley 1 (Withrow). Records: Blackman 24-6; Bradley 27-6.
CLEVELAND, Tenn.—The Bradley Central girls’ basketball team averaged 60 points per contest during the regular season. The Bearettes’ opponent in a Class AAA sectional — Blackman — averaged around 40.
The Lady Blaze hit their average Saturday; the Bearettes fell way short.
Blackman went on a back-breaking 19-2 run over a 7-minute, 51-second span of the third quarter and advanced to its second state tournament in three seasons with a 44-27 victory at Jim Smiddy Arena.
The Lady Blaze (24-6) pulled away using their superior length on the perimeter to force steals. Point guard Chelsey Hall was the primary beneficiary, scoring nine points during the deciding surge and leading all scorers with 16.
“We knew that if we played our game and executed on offense and defense like we knew how, it would pay off,” Hall said.
Blackman’s defensive approach was set to take away Bradley’s post game, and it worked with Brooke Copeland, Monica Hammond and Rebecca Reuter combining to score nine points. That put more pressure on the team’s shooters on the outside, and the Lady Blaze’s length limited the Bearettes’ 3-point looks.
Bradley finished with only one 3-pointer, and that was a banked-in 3 by Kaylan Withrow at the end of the first quarter.
“Their defense is outstanding,” Bradley coach Jason Reuter said. “We didn’t play our best — we shot poorly — but a lot of that was because of them.”
Bradley led 19-18 after a three-point play by Caroline Smith, but Blackman steals and missed shots by the Bearettes led to their undoing. Smith led the Bearettes (27-6) with nine points.
“Bradley is a great team; we didn’t try to exploit anything they do, rather try to create opportunities ourselves,” Blackman coach Chad Hibdon said. “We were able to get some easy baskets, and the momentum that comes with that is huge.”
Said Reuter: “We have to let this be a driving force to next season. We don’t lose any players, so it’s possible we could be back in this game next year.
“This game is not reflective of the season we had.”