Although the season is over, the Bradwell Lady Tigers have a lot to celebrate after finishing the season with a 25-5 record and a stand at the Elite Eight on Saturday when undefeated Redan High School won 59-40 at Fort Valley State University.
Lady Tiger coach Faye Baker said the squad had a strong run in the first quarter, getting Redan’s starting forward in early foul trouble and allowing her squad to get a slight first quarter lead.
But the coach said their bench and their inside play gave Redan the advantage.
"Their reserve forward, a sophomore, came off the bench and did more damage to us than their starting forward," she said. "Their inside play was dominant and we didn’t contain their inside game at all. That really hurt us. In the second quarter we didn’t score and they went on a run and we were down by five at the half."
Another factor, Baker said, was her squad had too many turnovers in the game.
Baker and assistant coach Dana King will take a short break before getting back to work and preparing for next season.
"I look at last year, where we returned three players and went to the Sweet 16," she said. "This year, we went to the Elite Eight and we will be returning four starters back from this team so our future looks bright. But it all depends on what we do in the off season. We got a chance to look at some things that were exploited in the game against Redan ... we know the areas where we are weak so we are definitely going to try and work on those areas during the off season to get them prepared again for teams like Redan should we make the playoffs again next year."
Most knew the team to watch this season in region 3-AAAAA was the Beach High Lady Bulldogs, who just made the final four. Their main opponent was coach Baker’s squad. With Beach High graduating six of their starters this year and coach Baker returning her core the stage is set to see who will be the top of the region next season.
"Looking at the region we are probably returning more starters than any team in our region," Baker said. "So everybody is probably going to look at us as the team to beat. But I don’t take anything for granted cause things can happen, a bad game on a bad night, things can happen. We should be the team to beat next year but it all depends on how we prepare over the summer."