The Bradwell Tigers could not overcome an early deficit against Battery Creek, S,C., losing 60-52, Thursday night, in the Tigers opening game of the annual Christmas break tournament, the Gentlemen’s Classic hosted by Statesboro High School.
“We had concentration and intensity tonight against Osborne and it showed…” Bradwell Institute Tigers coach Rhett Hellgren said.
The Tigers enjoyed a strong first half of the season and now, after several days off, were working back into basketball shape at the Gentleman’s Classic. Bradwell got the opportunity to play for three successive days and see teams they do not face during regular season or region play.
Bradwell faced Osborne High School from Marietta in Friday night’s second round. Osborne is traditionally a strong team and showed strong guard play.
The Tigers matched Osborne bucket for bucket in the opening quarter, but Osborne’s strong outside shooting gave them a 15-12 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Bradwell picked up intensity on defense creating a few turnovers, but what kept the Tigers in the game was offensive possessions.
Bradwell was fluid on offense with crisp ball movement and player spacing. The Tigers moved the ball consistently, creating scoring opportunities cutting to the lane and setting shots from the perimeter, which was evident from senior guard Resha Stokes’ team-leading 29 points.
A highlight of the offense was systematic feeding of the ball to players in the paint. Tiger post Daylan Baker was a key target for guards scoring 13 points from the post and free throw line.
The Tigers held a 30-29 lead over Osborne at the half. After leading scoring charges and sustaining Osborne runs, the game was tied at 54 at the end of the third quarter.
“I was very pleased with how we came out tonight and played, got all 13 guys in for some playing time and it showed me what they could do,” Hellgren said. “We played real well and I can live with losing tonight compared to last night. Last night we were totally out of synch and tonight we played like a team and it showed. Hogan hit some deep 3’s on us and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Have to say, after we put Jamorris Hill on him, he didn’t score again.”
Bradwell battled back from being 11 points down at one point in the second half, but the deciding factor was the deep 3-point shots that Osborne continued to hit.
Two Osborne players combined for 56 of the team’s 82 points. The Tigers bench also is getting experience that will benefit the Tigers in the second half of the season.
“It is nice to see what others can do,” Hellgren said. “Our starters are going to have come out and not play the whole game. Tonight I feel a lot more comfortable putting some guys in.”
The Bradwell faced a future Region 3-AAAAA rival Brunswick Saturday night in the final game of the Gentlemen’s Classic. Brunswick was in Region 3 in the past and rejoins Bradwell’s region next season.
“I hope the rest of the tournament we play hard and see what the younger players can do. Pressure is what tournaments like this are all about which will certainly help us in the second half of the season,” Hellgren said.
Gentlemen’s Classic at Statesboro High School
Battery Creek 60, Bradwell 52 (Thursday)
BC 16 14 7 23-60
Bradwell 11 19 14 19-52
Bradwell — Malcolm Dingle 23, Resha Stokes 12, JaMorris Hill 11, Kendrick Harris Bennett 6.
Osborne 82, Bradwell 79 (Friday)
Osborne 15 14 26 18-82
Bradwell 12 18 22 25-79
Bradwell — Resha Stokes 29, Daylan Baker 13, Tevin Womack 10, Malcom Dingle 10, Hubert Anderson 8, Kendrick Harris-Bennett 4, JaMorris Hill 3, Marc Rommel 2.