CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Bradley Central Bearettes defeated Cookeville 55-38 on Monday night from inside Jim Smiddy Arena.
With the win, Bradley advances to the Region 3 AAA championship and has secured a sectional game on Saturday.
After a defensive battle in the first quarter, the Bearettes came out ahead 9-4. Bradley then opened up the second frame on an eight-point run to break open the game and take a 13-point lead with just over five minutes to go in the half. The Bearettes were able to extend their lead to 15 multiple times off Jamaryn Blair and Kaleigh Hughes 3-pointers, and Blair hit a three just before the half to take a 28-15 advantage into the half.
Bradley was able to slowly extend their lead throughout the third and Anna Walker hit a transition three off a Jamia Williams assist the Bearettes took an 18-point lead with 53 seconds left in the third.
The hosts then put the game out of reach extending their lead to 21 points, the largest of the night, on a pair of Blair free throws with 5:44 remaining in the game. Bradley was able to hold on and take the 17-point win.
Blair led the Bearettes with 17 points, followed closely by Walker with 12. Hannah Lombard pulled down eight rebounds to go with nine points and a pair of assists and steals. Walker was able to lead the team with three assists and two blocks in the contest. Cambree Mayo was a headache for the defense causing four turnovers in the game.
The stout Bradley defense forced 22 turnovers with 11 steals and scored 23 points off those turnovers. Bradley was able to outscore the Lady Cavaliers 22-14 in the paint and 16-3 on fastbreak opportunities.
The Cookeville offense was led by KK Graves with 17 points while pulling down nine boards. Chloe Grace Savage led all players with 11 rebounds and was the next leading scorers for the Lady Cavaliers with eight. Liv Shipman recorded three of the team’s four assists and led the team with two steals.
Cookeville matched Bradley with nine-second chance points, and in a rarity, outscored the Bearettes 13-11 off bench scoring.
Bradley was able to shoot 40.5 percent (17-for-42) from the floor, and 5-of-13 (38.5 percent) from behind the 3-point line. The Bearettes were 16-for-26 (61.5 percent) from the free throw line.
Cookeville was held to 30.6 percent (12-for-39) overall, and 28.6 percent (4-for-14) from distance. The Lady Cavaliers struggled from the free throw line going 10-for-18 (55.6 percent).
Bradley Central improves to 29-3 on the year and will take on Stone Memorial on Wednesday inside Jim Smiddy Arena for the region championship. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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Cookeville - 4 11 9 14 38
Bradley Central - 9 19 13 14 55
Cookeville (38): Shipman, Dunaway, Surles, Savage 8, Graves 17, Dunaway, Webb 2, Shope, Love 4, Cunningham 7.
Bradley Central (55): Hughes 6, Robers, Jamaryn Blair 17, Anna Walker 12, Lombard 9, Reuter, Mayo 4, Barnes 2, Williams 5.
3-Pointers: Cookeville (4): Savage, Graves, Love, Cunningham. Bradley Central (5): Hughes, Blair 2, Walker, Mayo.