CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The fourth-ranked Bradley Central Bearettes wrapped up their regular season with a 55-36 victory over cross-town rival Cleveland on Tuesday night from inside Jim Smiddy Arena.
Bradley (25-3, 12-0 District 5 AAA) scored the first bucket of the game and never trailed the rest of the way. The Bearettes won the tip and Hannah Lombard scored three seconds later on a drive to open up the game. Bradley stretched the lead over the opening eight minutes and took an 18-8 lead in the first frame.
Cleveland (15-13, 9-3 District 5 AAA) responded keeping the second quarter low scoring as the Lady Blue Raiders outscored the hosts 7-6 just before the halftime break. Bradley still took a nine-point lead into the break up 24-15.
In the third, the guests were able to trim the lead to five points on a Mariyah Person field goal just under two minutes into the second half. Jamaryn Blair responded on the next possession with a drive to the bucket starting a 14-2 run to wrap up the quarter. Alexis Barnes threw in two, Anna Walker and Cambree Mayo pitched in five each to stretch the lead to 17 heading into the final quarter.
Cleveland came out in the final period scoring 11 of the first 17 points to cut the lead to 10 on a Brenna Droke putback with 5:12 left in the game. The Bearettes answered with a 12-1 run that lasted just over three minutes. Walker got the run started with a bucket in the paint off an Anna Roberts assist and was capped off with a Lombard free-throw to stretch the lead to 21, the largest of the night, with 12 seconds remaining. Droke hit a bucket at the buzzer off a Person assist to take the final to 55-36.
Walker had a game-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go with a team-high seven rebounds. Blair was the next leading scorer with 11 points and was able to draw 10 fouls in the contest. Barnes was able to find the net for nine points. Blair and Kaleigh Hughes recorded five rebounds each while Blair was able to record three steals on the night.
Joy Douglass and Madison Dasher threw in eight points apiece. Douglass recorded a game-high 13 rebounds including six offensive boards. Person and Droke had five rebounds each.
Bradley shot 42.9 percent (21-of-49) overall and was 4-for-18 (22.2 percent) from behind the 3-point line. The Bearettes shot a cold 42.9 percent (9-for-21) from the free-throw line. The Bearettes were able to force 15 turnovers with seven steals and recorded 12 assists on in the game. Walker was able to record two of the teams three blocks.
Cleveland shot 11-for-53 (20.8 percent) in the contest and made only three 3-pointers on 18 attempts (16.7 percent). Cleveland took advantage of the free-throw line going 11-of-16 (68.8 percent) in the game. The Lady Blue Raiders outrebounded the Bearettes 40-37 thanks to 17 offensive rebounds.
Cleveland was able to outscore Bradley 9-8 off turnovers, and 13-8 in second chance scoring. Bradley was able to control the post outscoring the Lady Blue Raiders 32-16 in the paint. The Bearettes also outscored the guests 6-0 in fast breaks and showed their depth with the bench outscoring the Cleveland bench 16-6.
Bradley Central will be back in action on Saturday in the district tournament. With the one seed, Bradley is granted a bye into the semifinals and await the winner of McMinn County and Ooltewah. With the bye into the semifinals, the Bearettes are guaranteed a spot in the region tournament, their 33rd straight appearance.
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Cleveland - 8 7 8 13 36
Bradley Central - 18 6 16 15 55
Cleveland (36): Person 5, Madison Dasher 8, Williams 3, Joy Douglass 8, Anderson 6, Droke 4, Goodman 2, Alvarado, Jackson, Rouse, Rominger.
Bradley Central (55): Hughes 5, Roberts 2, Jamaryn Blair 11, Anna Walker 18, Lombard 3, Mayo 5, Barnes 9, Rueter 1, Williams 1, Crittenden, Estrada, Hullender, Falcon.
3-Pointers: Cleveland (3): Dasher 2, Williams. Bradley Central (4): Hughes, Walker 2, Mayo.