Lady Bulldogs Khalilah Watson and Monique Willis combined for 23 and 10 points, respectively, in the second half Tuesday to beat the Lady Tigers.
The Bulldogs work made up a 13 point deficit and dethroned the Bradwell girls 55-44 in front of a Bulldog home crowd in Savannah. The Lady Bulldogs took the No.1 spot for region 3-AAAAA, remaining undefeated, and the Lady Tigers dropped to second with a 4-1 region record.
In game two the Tigers stepped up to the challenge, taking a 54-48 victory against the Bulldogs and improving their region record to 3-2.
Lady Tiger Mariah Maternik displayed her ball control skills, dribbling past Willis and setting up the passes to Seandre Lee, Camille Jackson and Quintunya Chapman. The first period closed tied at 12 and in the second, the Tigers took a 10-point unanswered run. They held Watson and Willis to 3 and 5 points in the entire first half.
But a quick adjustment by Bulldog head coach Ron Booker turned the game around. That and 21 Lady Tiger turnovers, 15 of which were in the second half, allowed Beach girls to take command of the second half of regulation. The Lady Bulldogs double covered Maternik, who by the end of the game was noticeably frustrated by the Bulldogs adjustment to the Lady Tiger strategy.
Lady Tiger Seandre Lee was the only double digit scorer with 13. Maternik and Chapman each chipped in 8 and Jackson dropped in 7 points.
"At halftime, Beach made an adjustment," Tiger coach Faye Baker said. "They turned up their pressure and we folded against it."
Baker said she was disappointed with the Lady Tigers’ inside play and said her girls were not aggressive enough, especially in the second half. She said her girls had been missing easy shots in several games and she knew it would be a factor against a team like Beach.
"I kept telling them against an aggressive team we need to execute," she said. "And we didn’t execute at all in the second half."
Lady Tiger Brytnii Speight, normally a top scorer, was held to 4 points as she struggled to get rebounds. She is still nursing an injury from Saturday’s loss at Brunswick. Baker said her return for tonight’s game at Johnson was questionable.
It was the second loss in a row for the Lady Tigers, who won 10 straight before Saturday.
"Two losses in a row, fortunately only one was a region loss," coach Baker said. "We are going to come back on Thursday and just prepare for Johnson and try and get back on the winning track for Friday. We are not pushing the panic button or anything like that. We are hoping that we can learn things from this. Beach did what they had to do in their house, so hopefully when they come back to us we can take care of business at home."
"We’ve played many good teams," Bulldogs coach Ron Booker said. "But Bradwell is the best team that we’ve played and I feel fortunate to be able to come back the way we did and I’m very proud of my team for having come back. We didn’t play well in either end in the first half because Bradwell would not allow us. We made some adjustments, moved to a different style of game and it worked."
Lady Tigers 12 16 10 6-44
Lady Bulldogs 12 3 22 18-55
"As I said last time, it doesn’t feel good it feels great," Tiger coach Pete Woodard said about their victory against the Bulldogs.
"I’m sure the players feel better about it than I do because it’s all about the players, not about the coaches."
The Tigers kept the score close and trailed by two at the close of the half (27-25). But by the end of the third the Tigers had a 5-point lead and then opened up the shots in the fourth for the win.
Tigers Tony Coston and DJ Felder scored doubles, sinking 11 and 10 points, respectively. Treshawn Hagood scored 8, while DeAndre Ross and D’Sean Brown chipped in 7 each.
"The players that we expected to produce are starting to show consistency," Woodard said. "That is what we need and as I said earlier I think the guys know it’s a region game and the momentum will already be there."
The Tigers (5-8 overall) face the Johnson High Atomsmashers tonight in Savannah. Johnson (6-6 overall, 4-1 in the region), is in third place behind Groves and Savannah. The Tigers’ victory against Beach moved them from the seventh spot to fifth, behind Johnson and Camden, their next two region opponents.
The girls tip-off against Johnson at 6:30 p.m. with the boys game scheduled to follow.