The Bradwell Institute boys’ basketball team is tied with Savannah High for second place in Region 3-AAAAA after defeating Groves, 79-68, on Tuesday night in Hinesville.
Bradwell (4-3, 4-1) and Savannah (5-1, 4-1) trail first-place Johnson (6-0).
The BI boys owned most of the first half against Groves, with Miguel Pineda dropping in two of his three trey shots en route to a game-high 23 points.
Dazjon Tinae chipped in 20, Javante Richey added 14 and Cameron Kight finished with 13.
The Tigers went up, 27-18, in the first period and led, 47-40, at halftime but allowed the Rebels to get back into the game in the third period, which closed with a 57-57 tie.
According to Tigers coach Pete Woodard, defense was key in the final period.
“We changed our defense and we gave them a different look,” he said, adding that they switched to a 1-3-1 half-court press in the fourth period. “With that third look, we always had a man in their face … and I think that different look caught them off guard.”
Bradwell outscored Groves, 22-11, in the final quarter for the 79-68 victory.
“We’ve always told them to be more aggressive, but the difference this year is we have guys with heart. ... They are not on the team just to be saying they play for Bradwell. These guys play hard, want to win and love winning and will do what it’s going to take,” Woodard said.
The boys will take a brief break, then head to the Statesboro Classic on Dec. 26, where they will tip off against Glenn Hills at 6:30 p.m. The Tigers will take on Mundy Hills on Dec. 27 and Osborne on Dec. 28.
Woodard said his team is used to playing the Savannah schools and that the Statesboro tournament will let his boys test their skills against potential state-tournament teams that are unfamiliar to the Tigers.
“Playing teams outside the region allows you to get an accurate evaluation of what you are playing with and where their mental focus is,” he said.
“It gives us a chance to see what we have when playing against teams we’ve never seen.”
Groves 18 22 17 11 — 68
Bradwell 27 20 10 22 — 79
Bradwell: Miguel Pineda 23, Dazjon Tinae 20, Javante Richey 14, Cameron Kight 13, Jamorris Hill 4, Malcom Dingle 3, Jalen Watson 2.