Bradwell Institute opened region 3-AAAAA play against Beach on Tuesday night for what may be the last time as reclassification comes down the pike. Beach defeated the Lady Tigers, 48-30, but the Tigers took the boys’ game, 81-66.
Bradwell used a patient offense, strong rebounding and judicious timeouts to stop Beach.
“We have been working on this game since the Joe Greene tournament. We played much better, but I think the biggest thing coming into tonight is the fact that we thought we should have won against Beach when we played them in the Joe Greene Tournament and we just wanted it more tonight,” Bradwell Institute coach Pete Woodard said.
Tiger senior shooting guard Dazjon Tinae opened the game with back-to-back layups.
Bradwell spent the first quarter flying around, getting steals and establishing a strong transition game. After Tiger point guard Javonte Richey sank a pair of freethrows, sophomore Cameron Kight grabbed a steal and Miguel Pineda scored successive layups, giving the Tigers a 16-10 lead toward the end of the first quarter. As Bradwell controlled the momentum during the opening quarter, Beach substituted wholesale to stop the Tiger attack.
“Basketball is a game of momentum and, fortunately, we were able to control the momentum against Beach tonight. As a coaching staff, we called timeouts to settle the players down when we saw the momentum changing,” Woodard said.
Bradwell had struggled on the boards during its first meeting with Beach last week in the Joe Greene tournament. Not this time, as Jalen Watson yanked down nine rebounds and Kight had seven boards for the Tigers.
BI responded on the defensive side of the ball, too. Bradwell worked a quick moving 3-2 zone forcing Beach to shoot from the outside or make aggressive cuts to the basket. The Tigers also transitioned to man defense and used full court pressure to create turnovers.
“One thing that we know that we can do and do well is play a 3-2 zone. It’s a strong defense and there are a lot of things that you can do out of it,” Woodard said.
Bradwell led 31-25 at the half. Beach came out of the half strong, but a patient Tigers offense found scoring opportunities. Bradwell led 56-45 by the end of the third quarter and didn’t look back.
“Tonight the team really gave us what we asked for. We did a better blocking out and shooting free throws. One thing we did a lot better was passing the ball, but we have been working a lot of drills in practice,” Woodard said.
Four Tigers ended the night in double figures. Tinae led the way with 22 points followed with Kight’s 18 points. Pineda chipped in 12 points and Malcolm Dingle finished with 10 points.
Bradwell moves to 1-0 in region play and 1-2 on the season. The Tigers will host Johnson Friday night.
“Johnson is one of tallest teams around. They have six-foot guards. Not only are they athletic but they are very good basketball players,” Woodard said.
In the girls’ game, Lady Tigers coach Faye Baker was concerned when her young team struggled against Beach in the Joe Greene Tournament, but it set her practice agenda for the rest of Thanksgiving.
“Beach is a good basketball team. They have height, which you cannot simulate in practice. I wish we could play a team like them every night because it does not do anything but make us better. We didn’t block out as well the first time but after really working hard on blocking out in practice, we did a much better job tonight,” Baker said.
Bradwell opened the game with its first possession with the guards moving the ball around the perimeter and making strong cuts to the basket. The Lady Tigers also were able to keep Beach off of the boards and limit the Lady Bulldogs’ second and third shot attempts.
Despite the improvements Bradwell made against Beach, the Lady Tigers simply could not handle the Lady Bulldogs’ size and athleticism. Beach went on a 7-point run late in the second period and kept the momentum into the half with a 27-16 lead.
Lady Tiger point guard Shaquioa Crockett scored with a transition lay up complete with a ball fake to start the third period. Bradwell also was able to create some steals and cut the Beach lead to 32-22 midway in the period, but Beach responded with another scoring run.
“I think that Shaquioa certainly did a better job handling the ball tonight. She showed a lot more patience. Akeyla Richardson and Leitia Leiatua gave us some good minutes too,” Baker said.
Crockett lead the Lady Tigers in scoring with nine points. Leiatua contributed seven points. Latisha Frasier and Richardson finished with six points each.
Bradwell falls to 0-1 in Region 3-AAAAA and 1-2 overall. Friday night the Lady Tigers will host Johnson and Saturday at 12:30 p.m. they take on P.K. Yonge School from Gainesville, Fla.
“I really don’t know what to expect from Johnson this year. I am sure they will be competitive. Yonge on the other hand has one of the best point guards in the country,” Baker.
Saturday afternoon’s game with Yonge came about because the Lady Tigers had an open date and the Statesboro Lady Blue Devils did not.
“Yonge’s coach Willie Power’s son plays basketball at Georgia Southern. They were coming to watch him play and wanted to play a team before the college game Saturday. Originally they wanted to play Statesboro, but they didn’t have an open date so the Statesboro coach called us. I think it will be a fun game and good experience for our girls,” Baker said.
Yonge is a state contender every year in its classification in Florida. Point guard Niya Johnson is ranked by ESPNHS as the No. 8 point guard in the country. Recruited by several powerhouse programs, Johnson has verbally committed to Baylor University.
Girls’ box scores:
Beach 11/16/1110 -48
BI 6/10/7/7 -30
Bradwell top scorers: Shaquoia Crockett 9, Leitia Leiatua 7, Latisha Frasier 6, Akeyla Richardson 6, Symone May 2.
Boys’ box scores:
BI 18/13/15/24 -81
Beach 12/1320/19 -66
Bradwell top scorers: Dazjon Tinae 22, Cameron Kight 18, Miguel Pineda 12, Malcolm Dingle 10, Javonte Richey 9, Jalen Watson 6, Jamorris Hill 2, Resha Stokes 2.