The chant “Whose house? Our house” echoed through Bradwell’s gym Tuesday as the host Lady Tigers nailed down a big region win.
After a slow start, the Lady Tigers ran the full-court press and wore down Jenkins enough to win, 53-49. The win improved Bradwell to 10-1 in Region 3B-AAAAA, which is the best record in the sub-region, and 11-11 overall.
It also meant a bit of revenge. Jenkins handed the Lady Tigers their only region loss so far and the BI girls weren’t about to lose on their home turf. However, Jenkins opened the game with Lady Warrior Cierra Marion hitting a 3-pointer to make a statement. The Lady Warriors then converted several Lady Tiger turnovers into points en route to a five-point lead.
Lady Tiger Leitia Leiataua made a statement of her own, answering the Warriors’ opening trey with her own 3-pointer and in the second quarter. Teammate Shaquioa Crockett snagged three consecutive steals and converted them into six points.
It was the spark the girls needed. The pace was furious the rest of the first half as the teams entered the break tied at 20.
During halftime, Lady Tiger coach Faye Baker told her girls to maintain the pressure. She said Jenkins ran up a double-digit lead when the teams first met this season in Savannah, and she didn’t want her squad in that same situation.
“We had to fight really hard to try and come back, and we pretty much ran out of time,” she said of their first challenge at Jenkins. “This time, we stayed close with them the entire game. The first time we played them we didn’t press until late in the game so tonight we came out with the full press to try and wear them down. The score was very close as we went into the fourth quarter … we turned up our defensive intensity and that is what did it for us.”
And the Lady Tigers needed the defensive intensity, as Lady Warrior Faith Sanders scored 19 of her 24 points in the second half of the game. However, the Lady Tigers shot well on free throws to maintain the slight edge.
Crockett dropped in 21 points in the victory, while Akeyla Richardson added 15.
Baker said it feels great to be on top of the sub-region considering how much her girls struggled early on. She added that playing in the Macon tournament, as well as having games in Florida, helped her girls adjust to playing tough teams. That could be key with only three region games left before the postseason.
“We are coming together at the right time of the year,” she said. “We are coming into the stretch and getting ready for the region playoffs, so I’m happy … there are still a lot of things we are not doing right, so we can’t be satisfied with where we are. Yes, we are sitting on top of the region, but we still have three tough region games left so we can’t get complacent. We have to continue working hard.”
In the boys’ game Tuesday, the Tigers also were looking to avenge an earlier loss to Jenkins. But although the Tigers kept the game close in the first half, the Warriors ran away in the second half for a 78-56 win.
Bradwell trailed by five points in the first quarter and by one point at halftime. But the Warriors’ Romaine Gray hit 15 of his 18 points, including four 3-pointers in the second half.
Jenkins’ defensive adjustments also created problems for Bradwell.
“They played a box and one against Miguel (Pineda) in the second half and we did not adjust to it,” Tiger coach Rhett Hellgren said, adding the Warriors knew Pineda posed a threat from beyond the arc.
Pineda notched 12 points from 3-point range in the first half, but Bradwell was held to four points in the third quarter as the Warriors ran up 20.
“We were unsure, and it showed that we were not prepared for it,” said Hellgren, who took responsibility for the loss. “We will definitely be ready for it next time it happens.”
Pineda finished with 21 points. Malcolm Dingle chipped in 13, and Jamorris Hill added 11.
The boys still are sitting well in the region with a 7-4 mark and an overall record of 11-11.
Tonight, Bradwell hosts Richmond Hill in a region matchup and senior night. The girls’ game tips off at 7 p.m.
Lady Tigers 6|14|13|20 – 53
15 of 16 at the line, Shaquoia Crockett 21 points, Akeyla Richardson 15
Lady Warriors 11|9|14|15 – 49
11 of 20 at the line, Faith Sanders 24 points, Makayla Robinson 13
Tiger boys 12|18|4|22 – 56
18 of 25 at the line, Miguel Pineda 21 points, Malcolm Dingle 13, Jamorris Hill 11
Warriors 17|14|20|27 – 78
9 of 14 at the line, Romaine Gray 18 points (five 3-pointers), Malik Benlevi 16, Marquel Perry 11