published Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Bradley Central Bearettes bounced at state tournament

Bradley Central's Brooke Copeland, center, has a layup knocked down by Science Hill's Enjelica Reid, left, and Shae Smith during their state basketball tournament quarterfinal game Wednesday in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Bradley Central's Brooke Copeland, center, has a layup knocked down by Science Hill's Enjelica Reid, left, and Shae Smith during their state basketball tournament quarterfinal game Wednesday in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Photo by Doug Strickland.

Class AAA State Quarterfinal

SCIENCE HILL 64, BRADLEY CENTRAL 38

Science Hill 16 13 18 17 -- 64

Bradley Central 10 7 8 13 -- 38

Science Hill (64) -- Tarter 7, Enjelica Reid 11, Knack 8, Shy Copney 16, Lyon 5, Head 3, Herrin, Webster, Keisha Gregory 12, Smith 1, Em. Reid, Fenley 1.

Bradley Central (38) -- Withrow 2, Carroll 9, Donaldson 8, Whitted 1, Brooke Copeland 17, Hill, Davis, Stallings, Delane, Thompson, Pippenger.

3-point goals: Science Hill 6 (Knack 2, Gregory 2, Copney, Head); Bradley 4 (Carroll 2, Withrow, Donaldson). Other highlights: Tianna Tarter 7 r, 6 a; En. Reid 11 r; Copney 10 r; Gabby Lyon 7 r, 4 s (SH); Copeland 16 r; Baylee Carroll, Whitney Donaldson each 4 a; Brandi Whitted 7 r (BC). Records: Science Hill 34-3; Bradley 29-3.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The outcome of Bradley Central's Class AAA state quarterfinal girls' basketball game against Science Hill came down to some little things the Bearettes needed to do better, as well as one big thing — shoot — that they needed to do a lot better.

The fourth-ranked Bearettes' first state-tournament appearance in 12 years ended abruptly Wednesday with a 64-38 loss to the second-ranked Lady Hilltoppers, who are ranked 22nd nationally by ESPN and were state runners-up last season.

With 6-foot-3 junior forward Rebecca Reuter serving the first of a two-game suspension, the Bearettes (29-3) shot a paltry 28.3 percent from the floor, as Science Hill sagged inside on Bradley's other star post, Brooke Copeland.

Bradley was 4-for-14 from 3-point range and 8-for-18 from the foul line. Copeland finished with game highs of 17 points and 16 rebounds but shot only 6-for-21 from the floor.

"They really packed it in, and we couldn't run our stuff," she said. "There was a bunch of help-side [defense] every time I got the ball, and I couldn't do what I wanted to do and normally can do. I think we played our hearts out and the fans were amazing, but as a team we couldn't knock down shots that were open."

Baylee Carroll, who started in place of Reuter, had nine points and four assists.

"Our shots weren't falling, and we got down on ourselves," Carroll said. "At halftime we were telling each other not to give up, but I think we lost from not making shots and doing the little things."

Kayla Withrow hit a second-quarter 3-pointer for the Bearettes to trim the early deficit to 18-15, but the Lady Hilltoppers ran off the next 10 points, as Bradley went 3:35 without a point until a pair of Copeland free throws with 50.6 seconds left in the first half.

After two more Copeland free throws to start the third quarter, Science Hill went on a 16-4 spurt and the margin never dipped below 20 the rest of the way.

Shy Copney, who has signed to continue her basketball career at Middle Tennessee State, finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for Science Hill (34-3). Keisha Gregory had 12 points off the bench, and Enjelica Reid added 11.

Bradley was forced to play a lot more zone defense, in hopes that Science Hill would not be proficient from long range. The Lady Hilltoppers were only 6-for-20 on 3-pointers, but they also had 18 offensive rebounds.

"Overall, it was a good, solid game for our kids," Science Hill coach Darrell Barnwell said. "Bradley not having Reuter didn't affect our game plan as much as it did theirs.

"We were able to attack the glass a lot harder, and I think us having 18 offensive rebounds is where you could tell they missed her the most."

The Bearettes lose four seniors: Withrow, Carroll, Brandi Whitted and Maggie Thompson. In addition, Reuter will have to miss the season opener next year, but the team regains point guard Chelsie Summars, who missed the entire 2012-13 season with knee injuries.

"There's a reason Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were successful. You couldn't walk one to get to the other," Bradley coach Jason Reuter said. "Our big girls do a good job passing to each other and they have for three years, so it was easier [for Science Hill] to sag off today.

"I don't think today was a reflection of the team we had, though. I'm proud of the kids -- they fought hard and never quit. I'm not going to dwell on Rebecca not being there: We had five people out there and we played our hearts off. I'm not going to let that ruin what was a great season."

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