Trailing by 19 points at the half Tuesday at home, the Bradwell Institute Lady Tigers rallied to cut McIntosh County Academy’s lead to only five points by the end of the third quarter.
But the extra effort left the Lady Tigers fatigued for the fourth quarter, and the Lady Buccaneers pushed ahead again to win, 69-55.
“I was really happy that at halftime, down by 19, that we just didn’t lie down and die,” Lady Tiger coach Faye Baker said. “That is what we talked about at halftime, coming out and having heart to fight back, and they did that in the third quarter. I think it kind of took a little too much out of them for the fourth quarter to come back and close it out, but I was happy with the effort.”
The Lady Bucs jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead before Lady Tiger Shaquoia Crockett reminded the visiting team they were on her turf by sinking in her first of three 3-pointers on the night. MCA’s Shakiala Mells answered with a trey of her own.
The first quarter was tight with each team trading the lead and tying the game three times. MCA had a 1-point lead to start the second quarter.
That is when Mells did some damage, and the Lady Tigers struggled. Mells hit three trey shots as the Lady Bucs outscored the Lady Tigers, 26-6, as MCA led, 43-24, at the half.
BI starter Akeyla Richardson was pulled early in the second half, and just before intermission, Baker also sat Crockett and starters Kelissa Hargrove and Leitia Leiataua.
“It was foul trouble, especially for Akeyla,” Baker said. “When we pulled her out, it was due to foul trouble. And that hurt us to have her out for such a long length of time. For the others, we were trying to give them a little breather here and there and throw some kids in the mix to get a little time in, but Akeyla was in foul trouble.”
But Baker rallied the girls and told them to keep fighting. In the third quarter, the Lady Tigers held MCA to eight points while dropping in 22. Richardson returned and chipped in eight of her 13 points in the period off steals and passes from Crockett. Hargrove added six points, and Crockett hit another trey shot as the Lady Tigers pressed and kept Mells from scoring.
BI closed the gap and trailed by five at the end of the third.
However, the energy the BI girls spent in the third left them a little drained by the middle of the fourth quarter. Mells went back to work, hitting another trey shot and going 5-for-5 at the free-throw line.
Crockett and Richardson scored 23 and 13, respectively. Hargrove and Javaughnea Claridy had seven points apiece.
Baker said her team, which dropped to 0-2, is not close to being in basketball form.
“We are playing a lot of kids with less experience, so that is a factor as well,” she said. “It’s going to take some games for us to find the right combinations… but from the scrimmage game to the Fleming Island game to tonight’s game, we are getting better.”
Baker said they need to work on defense and transitions as well as keeping the right person covered when in man-to-man. BI has tough games coming up Saturday at Brunswick and Tuesday against Beach at home. She said the tough schedule was planned to get her squad ready for region games.
“As long as they keep working hard and getting better every game, hopefully by midseason we will find the right combination and the right mix … I just want them to keep playing hard,” Baker said. “We are getting some early tests, and that is a good thing.”
Lady Tigers 16|6|22|11 – 55
Lady Bucs 17|26|8|18 – 69