During the second day of the Joe Greene Tip-Off tournament, Bradwell Institute’s Lady Tigers took on neighboring Liberty County High in a tough, but friendly, battle for local bragging rights. The Lady Tigers pulled ahead in the second half to win 62-53 on Wednesday at Beach High School. They are undefeated at 3-0 as the season kicks into high gear.The Lady Panthers are 3-1 after opening their season with a 58-33 win against Beach last week at home and defeating Camden County 49-44 on Tuesday during their debut at the Joe Greene Tournament.
Coach Faye Baker’s Lady Tiger squad opened to a quick 10-0 lead, which dwindled away to a three-point lead as the Bradwell team got into early foul trouble. By the end of the first quarter, a few of Baker’s starters were on the bench as the second team held a close lead.
"All we wanted to do was keep the game close so I was really pleased with my second unit because they were able to go ahead and maintain the lead," Baker said. "That was a plus because that bench experience is going to be important for us down the road."
In the second quarter, coach Carolyn Kelly and her Lady Panthers started a scoring drive and took a one-point lead with 3:21 left before the half.
However, the lead changed again and the Lady Tigers were up 26-23 at the break.
When the Lady Tigers came out for the third quarter, Baker’s starters were well rested but committed five consecutive turnovers, letting the Lady Panthers back into the game.
"I was very disappointed in how we turned the ball over on their press because with our group of seasoned players we should have handled the press better," Baker said. "But you can attribute that to her (Kelly’s) girls. They played solid, played as a unit, and I’m really impressed with her squad. I think they are going to have a really good year.’
During the first half, Kelly had Courtney Rhodes covering Lady Tiger Mariah Maternik.
"She was the only one we felt who could match up against their post player because she is just an excellent ball handler and experienced player," Kelly said.
But Rhodes was forced to sit in the second quarter due to a slight ankle injury. Kelly put Diamone Johnson on Maternik.
Both are competitive, physical players.
"One thing about Mariah (Maternik) is she is so strong," Kelly said. "That is probably the strongest defensive player she’s seen so far this year, because Diamone is just as strong.
"There was a very physical battle between the two and, again, I thought Diamone did a very good job in her game. I know she (Johnson) is young still and she is going to get better."
"We know Diamone (Johnson) is a true athlete, and Diamone gave her [Maternik] the coverage that I don’t think she was accustomed to having," the coach said. "And I think Diamone did a really good job on her. The positive thing was our girls lasted four quarters and their toughness came out because when they turned the ball over a few times, we were able to capitalize on it. The negative part is we need to focus on coming out tough in the beginning of each game. We can’t wait until the third or fourth quarter."
Baker said the win was the closest margin of victory her Lady Tigers were able to hold so far this season.
"It was kind of ugly in spots, but like I always say I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty," the coach said.
BI Lady Tigers
Seandre Lee: 25
Mariah Maternik: 19
Quintunya Chapman: 5
Camille Jackson: 4
Leitia Leiataua: 3
Suede Jones: 2
Kiara McNeely: 2
Keandra Frasier: 2
Liberty Lady Panthers top scorers
Diamone Johnson: 14
Kourtney Alexander: 13
Precious Williams: 9
Miata Askew: 9
Catherine Scaggs: 4
Courtney Rhodes: 4