REGION 3-AAA CHAMPIONSHIP
At Cumberland County
BRADLEY CENTRAL 82, CUMBERLAND COUNTY 42
Cumberland 11 12 8 11 -- 42
Bradley Central 18 19 25 20 -- 82
Cumberland County (42) -- Dick, Green, Woods, Sliger, Taylor Vaden 10, Teeple 2, Noel 3, Daugherty 5, Shinn, Jaclyn Reagn 16, Vanwinkle 6.
Bradley Central (82) -- Withrow 2, Whitted 3, Carroll, Formont 8, Kayla Beavers 13, Caroline Smith 10, McCracken 2, Brooke Copeland 22, Summars 5, Davis 3, Rebecca Reuter 11, Hammond.
3-point goals: Cumberland 3 (Vanwinkle 2, Reagan); Bradley 7 (Beavers 3, Smith, Summars, Davis, Reuter). Records: Bradley 32-1; Cumberland 19-14.
CROSSVILLE, Tenn. -- The Cumberland County girls' basketball team landed a hard body blow Thursday in the Region 3-AAA championship game against Bradley Central, but it was the fourth-ranked Bearettes who landed the knockout combination in an 82-42 victory.
Playing the entire second half without District 5 player of the year Caroline Smith, the Bearettes outscored the Lady Jets 45-19 and cruised to their second consecutive region championship. Bradley (32-1) will host Lawrence County, the second seed from Region 4-AAA, while Cumberland (19-14) will travel to top-ranked Murfreesboro Riverdale in Saturday's sectional round.
Smith was knocked down by an elbow by Taylor Vaden late in the first half in what already had been an extremely physical -- and sometimes chippy -- contest. Bleeding from her mouth, Smith walked to the bench before collapsing.
She was taken to a Crossville hospital for further checkup after passing out in the locker room two more times, and her status is questionable for the Lawrence County game.
"She's going to have a CT scan, but it's all precautionary," Bradley coach Jason Reuter said. "There were no teeth knocked out, but it sounds as though she's going to need some stitches."
The injury happened right before halftime and seemed to focus the Bearettes in the second half of what had been a fairly close battle. Their lead had crept to 37-23 by halftime, but they outscored Cumberland 25-8 in the ensuing eight minutes, opening up a 31-point lead going into the fourth.
"When one of our teammates goes down, we get mad," senior Keila Formont said. "When we get mad, we have the ability to beat teams like we did tonight."
On numerous occasions, players had to be separated as the Lady Jets, spurned on by their home crowd, battled to stay in the game. It worked in the first 16 minutes, but Bradley took the crowd out with its third-quarter run.
Brooke Copeland led Bradley with 22 points, while Kayla Beavers finished with 13, Rebecca Reuter with 11 and Smith with 10. Formont had eight points and six assists.
"We knew they were aggressive, but maybe not like this," Reuter said. "The girls came out motivated in the second half. We're a better team with Caroline, but the girls did what they had to do. When she went out of the game, other players stepped up in her absence."
The Lady Jets' Jaclyn Reagan finished with 16 points but was whistled for a technical foul in the third quarter. Vaden had 10 points.