CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Anna Walker recorded her fifth double-double of the year as the third-ranked Bradley Central Bearettes held off McMinn County, 56-47, on Friday evening from inside Jim Smiddy Arena.
In the lowest scoring quarter of the night, McMinn County took an early 5-2 lead on a Kaitlynn Hennessee bucket with 5:54 left in the first. Bradley responded closing out the quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 10-7 lead after the first break.
The second quarter went back and forth with the Lady Cherokees taking the lead after a technical foul was called on Jamaryn Blair resulting in her fourth foul of the game, forcing her to sit for most of the game. Ashley Baxter hit both of the technical free throws and hit a three on the ensuing possession to give McMinn a 15-11 lead with 4:58 remaining before the half. A pair of Walker free throws, a defensive stop, and a Cambree Mayo three put the Bearettes back in the lead 16-15 just 43 seconds later before Bradley took a 24-21 lead into the locker room.
The third quarter went back and forth as the Lady Cherokees were able to take a three-point lead on a Whitney Green fastbreak score with 2:33 remaining in the third. Bradley responded with a pair of Hannah Lombard free throws, and a Jamia Williams bucket to regain a 30-29 lead. The Bearettes were able to end the quarter on a 6-1 run capped off by an Amelia Reuter buzzer beater to give the hosts a 36-31 lead heading into the final period.
The fourth quarter saw six lead changes and two ties. The two teams traded buckets from 5:29 to 3:56 before Bradley took the lead for good on a pair of Blair free throws with 3:49 left. Bradley finished the game on a 13-3 run, eight scored by Blair, as the decisive free throws came with 1:30 remaining. The Bearettes had taken a five-point lead on two Walker free throws and was able to pick up a stop, forcing McMinn to foul. Paige Manning picked up her fifth foul and as she walked to the bench was called for a bench technical. Blair made the two foul shots and Walker made the technical shots and Blair made two free throws on the next possession to ice the game 55-44 with 1:16 remaining in the game for the largest lead of the night. The Bearettes were able to hang on over the final minute for the 56-47 win.
The game was back and forth seeing 14 lead changes and five ties as Bradley led for 19 minutes and 22 seconds of the 32-minute game.
Bradley was paced by Walker with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Blair came in the final 5:49 of the game and scored 10 of her 12 points in the fourth. Alexis Barnes threw in 10 points of her own. Kaleigh Hughes recorded eight rebounds, four of which were offensive. Walker was able to dish three assists and Mayo came off the bench and had four steals.
Baxter led the McMinn County offense with 16 points, including three-of-three shooting from distance. Hennessee was right on her heels shooting six-of-eight with two 3’s and a free throw for 15 points. Hennessee and Baxter recorded seven rebounds each, and Hennessee was able to block three shots.
Bradley shot 16-of-50 overall for 32 percent while going a cold two-of-14 from three (14.3 percent). The Bearettes were able to hit 22-of-32 free throws in the win.
McMinn County shot 17-of-39 from the floor and a sizzling 50 percent (seven-of-14) from the free throw line. The Lady Cherokees shot an icy six-of-16 from the free throw line.
Bradley was able to force 18 turnovers with nine steals while only turning over the ball 10 times. Both teams recorded eight assists and the Bearettes won the battle of the boards 36-29 with 14 offensive rebounds.
The victors were able to outscore McMinn in almost every specialty scoring category as well, outscoring them 19-5 off turnovers, 24-18 in the paint, 12-0 in second chance scoring, and 21-6 with points from the reserves. McMinn County did outscore Bradley 5-0 in fastbreak points.
Bradley improves to 19-2 on the year and 7-0 in district play. McMinn County drops to 16-7 overall and 4-4 in district 5 AAA action.
The Bearettes are back in action on Saturday as they take on Stone Memorial at 5:30 p.m. eastern time from Crossville before returning back home and to district play as they take on East Hamilton on Tuesday, Jan. 22 inside Jim Smiddy.
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McMinn County 7 14 10 16 47
Bradley Central 10 14 12 20 56
McMinn County 47-Burns 3, Kaitlynn Hennessee 15, Green 7, Schiestel, Ashley Baxter 16, Manning 6, Dankworth, Smith
Bradley Central 56-Hughes 5, Roberts, Jamaryn Blair 12, Anna Walker, 16, Lombard 2, Mayo 7, Williams 2, Alexis Barnes 10, Reuter 2
Three-Pointers: McMinn County 7 (Hennessee 2, Green, Baxter 3, Manning). Bradley Central 2 (Hughes, Mayo).