CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Bradley Central Bearettes recorded their fourth straight, and 40th overall region championship defeating Stone Memorial 46-35 on Wednesday evening inside Jim Smiddy Arena.
In a defensive contest, the two teams traded baskets in the opening quarter and Bradley (30-3) took a 7-6 lead after the opening frame.
Stone Memorial (23-6) responded taking the lead with 4:15 left in the half on a pair of Tessa Miller free throws. Kaleigh Hughes was able to hit a 3-pointer just three minutes later to take a three-point lead. Mattie Buck hit a free throw to wrap up the scoring in the half as Bradley took a two-point lead into the locker room.
In the third, Bradley came out firing taking an eight-point lead on a Cambree Mayo three off a Hughes assist with 3:11 remaining. The Lady Panthers answered with an eight-point burst to end the period and take a one-point advantage into the final frame.
The Bearettes did not quit though, as they responded with a 7-0 run to take a six-point lead over the first four minutes of the period. Sophomore guard, Jamaryn Blair came up huge in the final frame, going 11-for-12 from the free throw line to put the game out of reach, and Bradley Central to hold on for the victory.
Blair ended the game with 16 points, going 12-for-14 from the charity stripe. Anna Walker was the next leading scorer with 14 while pulling down a team-high six rebounds, and recording three blocks. Hughes threw in eight points, including two 3-pointers to go with five rebounds and a pair of assists, and steals. Blair was able to draw 13 fouls for her fourth unconventional double-double.
The Bearettes were able to go 12-of-34 (35.3 percent) overall and shot 21.1 percent (4-for-19) from behind the 3-point line. Bradley shot an astounding 81.8 percent (18-for-22) from the free throw line.
The hosts forced 14 turnovers on the night, scoring 12 points off the Stone miscues. Bradley was able to outscore the Lady Panthers 16-13 in the pain, despite being outsized at almost every position. The Bearettes took advantage of fast-break opportunities outscoring the guests 6-2 in the category. The bench continued their deep ways, outscoring their counterparts 6-0 in the victory.
Stone Memorial was paced by Miller who ended the night with a double-double recording 14 points and 11 rebounds. Emma Capps pitched in with nine points and Alex Eldridge helped out with eight.
Stone shot 29.4 percent (10-for-34) from the floor and 1-for-7 (14.3 percent) from distance. The Lady Panthers ended the night with a 73.7 (14-for-19) mark from the free throw line.
Stone used their 10 offensive boards well outscoring the Bearettes 9-4 in second chance scoring. Both teams were able to record 25 rebounds, 10 offensive and 15 defensive each.
With the win, Bradley Central secured home-court advantage in the AAA sectional contest. The Bearettes will take on Oakland on Saturday night beginning at 7 p.m.
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Stone Memorial - 6 8 13 8 35
Bradley Central - 7 9 10 20 46
Stone Memorial (35): Eldridge 8, Buck 3, Tessa Miller 14, Capps 9, Boyd 1, Roark, Adkisson.
Bradley Central (46): Hughes 8, Roberts, Blair 16, Walker 14, Lombard 2, Mayo 4, Reuter 2, Barnes, Williams, Carman.
3-Pointers: Stone Memorial (1): Eldridge. Bradley Central (4): Hughes 2, Walker, Mayo.