Bradwell Institute honored its senior basketball players Friday night, just before the Tiger teams took to the court and swept the Groves Rebels. The Lady Tigers won, 54-19, while the BI boys soared in the second half to pull away for a 61-54 victory.
The Lady Tigers took the lead early and held it for the entire game. BI coach Faye Baker started the game with seniors Akeyla Richardson, Aleecia Futch, Selena Manies and Alize Roberts and sophomore newcomer Brianna Johnson.
It took no time for the starters to establish a 12-5 lead, which gave Baker a chance to play her reserves. The win gives the Lady Tigers a 7-17 overall mark and 5-8 Region 3-AAAAA record. They have a final region game against Jenkins before the region tournament starts next week. Baker said she knows they will finish in sixth place in the region regardless of yesterday’s makeup game at Jenkins. The game was rescheduled due to the threat of bad weather two weeks ago.
“We talked about utilizing these two games to prepare for the region tournament, so I was glad I was able to play everybody tonight,” Baker said. “I am glad I was able to play all the seniors for a lot of minutes … but I will say we still need some work on our defense. We are not covering the lanes as well as we should. We are working to fix that before we play next week.”
The Lady Tigers must wait to see which team ends up in third place in the region. They’ll face that team in their first tournament matchup at Richmond Hill High School.
Baker said Richardson, Futch and Manies have been in the program for four years. Roberts has been in the program for two years.
“All four of them are good kids, and I am really going to miss them — their personalities … I just love them to death ... All are very good young ladies, and I know that all four of them are going to go off and be productive, and that is what I am always most concerned about. I am definitely going to miss them, but I know they are going to do great things.”
BI — 12/21/17/4: 54
GH — 5/4/4/6: 19
When the boys took the floor, Groves High challenged the Tigers by taking a six-point lead in the first and maintaining a five-point advantage through a big portion of the game. Bradwell stepped up to the challenge, though, and closed the gap to trail by three at the half.
The Rebels did hit a quick layup in the third to regain the lead, but not for long. The Tigers stacked players and keyed in defensively on the two Rebels players who keeping hitting trey shots. The maneuver let BI hold Groves to only only six points in the third while the Tigers dumped in 18.
Tiger coach Rhett Hellgren put in his reserves to finish the game, knowing to save the starters’ strength for Saturday, when the boys faced Jenkins in Savannah.
Although the Tigers and Effingham County hold the same 10-3 region mark, the Effingham team has defeated the Tigers twice, giving the Springfield boys an edge on second place. As of Saturday morning, Jenkins was in first place. In the Tigers’ first matchup against the Warriors, Jenkins took a 105-63 win.
The Tigers have a 14-10 overall mark.
The senior boys were honored before the game. Jamorris Hill, Malcolm Dingle, Reasha Stokes, Hubert Anderson and Tevin Womack were escorted by their parents and family members onto the court for a brief ceremony.
On many occasions, Hellgren has said he credits Hill, Dingle and Stokes for being the glue that holds the team together. He praised Anderson for his hard work and contributions to the Tigers’ post game and said Womack was a great new addition to the team this season.
Saturday’s games at Jenkins were played after the paper went to press. For results, see Wednesday’s Courier.
BI — 13/15/18/15: 61
GH — 19/12/6/17: 54