The Bradwell Institute basketball teams dropped their first Region 3-AAAAA of the season Tuesday at Effingham County, but bounced back to beat South Effingham in their second region games Friday at home.
The Tigers had a tough time against the Rebels, 65-52, and the Lady Tigers fell, 57-33 Tuesday. On Friday night, the girls won, 50-45, and the boys followed suit, winning 75-63.
Lady Tiger coach Faye Baker said her relatively younger players still are adjusting to the varsity level of play. Tuesday against the Rebels, the coach said she did see a noticeable improvement.
“Our transition was definitely much better last night (Tuesday) because we have been working on that,” Baker said. “Our Achilles heel right now is running our offense and being patient on offense. We are not a very patient team at all.”
The Lady Tigers were led by Brianna Johnson’s 19 points.
Baker said she spoke to the girls about the importance of learning their respective roles and doing their jobs.
“I tried to describe it to them like the ingredients of a cake … you have all these ingredients, and if you leave one out it is going to change the whole taste of that cake,” she said. “We are trying to get them to understand that we are not just looking for people who can score. We are looking for people to be a defensive stopper, looking for people to be a rebounder, looking for those who can assist … all the different components that make up a good team. We are trying to get everyone to understand what their role is.”
The main focus at practice, Baker said, is to have the players develop overall patience in order to break down the opposing defense.
“We tend to rush … make a couple of passes and then we try and jack up shots,” the coach said. “We want them to get the attitude and understand they need to be a lot more patient … swing the ball more and let that break down the defense more. Once we buy into that concept, our field-goal percentage and point production percentage will rise. Right now, we are not selective enough.”
On Friday, a more patient Lady Tiger squad stayed head-to-head with the South Effingham. Bradwell took a 22-21 lead into halftime on a 3-pointer by Alyssa McDuffie.
Johnson and Jakaria Fleming each had nine points in the matchup, based on the preliminary unofficial stats.
Baker said after the first quarter they knew they needed to make a quick adjustment.
“We decided we need to apply a little bit more ball pressure so we went into a man (defense), and I think that rattled their guards a little bit, and we got some turnovers,” she said. The Lady Tigers also knew they needed to put the brakes on Lady Mustang power forward Shae Leverett. She scored 12 points against the Bradwell girls in the first half but was held to four the entire second half.
“We tried to get her into foul trouble because she was killing us on the boards,” Baker said. “We told our girls to take it right at her and try and draw a couple of fouls and once we had a couple of fouls on her that worked.”
Lady Mustang Alissa Epling paced the visiting team with 19 points, including three 3-pointers.
Comparing Friday’s game to Tuesday, Baker said the girls played more as a team, shared the ball well and were a lot more patient on offense.
“We didn’t let them out-work us,” she said. “I was pleased with their effort.”
BI coach Rhett Hellgren said the game was much closer than the score indicates Tuesday at Effingham.
“It was a two-point game with a little over two minutes left,” he said, adding he was pleased with the boys’ effort. “I told the players we need to bring that kind of intensity to practice, and things will rollover to the game. We have got to get better and the only way to do that is to do it in practice.”
Hellgren said the Rebels were given too many opportunities at the line as well.
“We shot 12 foul shots to their 29, and that was the difference,” he said.
The Rebels made 24 of those 29 free throws.
The intensity Hellgren spoke about did roll over onto the hardwood Friday, as the Tigers turned up their performances and claimed a region win in a heated battle against a Mustang team that was sharp from behind the arc.
The Mustangs hit 10 3-pointers, but the Tigers had a strong second half, taking the lead and never letting the visiting team come close.
George Mitchell and Kendrick Harris-Bennett scored 14 points each to lead Bradwell, and Desmond Oglesby added 13. Taurus Dennard added 10 points, including eight in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers are 1-4, 1-1 while the Lady Tigers are 3-3, 1-1. The Tigers were scheduled to be at Tattnall County Saturday and at Richmond Hill Tuesday.
Lady Tigers 6|5|12|10=33
L. Rebels 11|12|15|19=57
Lady Tigers scoring — Brianna Johnson 19, JaVaughna Claridy 6, Alyssa McDuffie 2, Journae Young 2, Autiana Hightower 2, Alena Edwards 1, Zhantel Davenport 1.
Lady Tigers 5|17|9|19=50
L. Mustangs 13|8|14|10=45