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Lady Tigers claim last-second win
Effingham boys roll past Tigers, 65-36
Bradwells Leitia Leiataua and Akeyla Richardson set up a play during Tuesdays 37-35 win over Effingham County at home. The Lady Tigers won on a basket in the final seconds. - photo by Patty Leon

The Effingham County girls’ basketball team looked like it had the game in the bag Tuesday, but the Bradwell Lady Tigers weren’t about to give in.
The Lady Tigers’ Shaquoia Crockett put in the go-ahead layup in the final seconds to give Bradwell a come-from-behind, 37-35 win at home in a big Region
3B-AAAAA battle.
Also Tuesday, the Bradwell boys’ team lost to Effingham, 65-36.
The Lady Rebels held a narrow 25-21 lead at halftime, but the Lady Tigers did what they do best in the second half of a game: a furious press defense.
“Our strategy was to try and wear them down,” Bradwell coach Faye Baker said. “Our defense is what is really keeping us in the games right now.”
Baker said she heard the Lady Rebels liked to play slow and were really sharp at the line, so she told her girls to turn up the tempo “and wear their legs down.” The plan worked as Bradwell made a 12-4 run in the fourth.
After Crockett’s basket, the Lady Rebels drove down the court. But both their shot attempts bounced out and the buzzer sounded, sending the fans into a cheering frenzy
Baker said the plan in the second half was to at least tie the score and handle things in overtime if needed.
“I noticed they missed some free throws in the fourth quarter and I think it was from having tired legs and I think that is what worked in our favor,” Baker said. “We were able to wear them down, and I felt like if we could tie the game we would have a chance to win.”
Crockett paced the girls with 16 points. Akeyla Richardson chipped in 10. Bradwell improved to 6-1 in the region and 6-11 overall.
In the boys’ game, the Rebels used their height advantage to snatch more rebounds and score on second and third attempts.
Despite the margin of defeat Tiger coach Rhett Hellgren said Tuesday’s game was the team’s best effort of the season.
 “We busted our tails off.  We did not win, but the effort was clearly there,” he said. “I think we shocked them a little with how we started off toe to toe.”
Staying toe-to-toe allowed the Tigers to stay close early, trailing only 9-5 at the end of the first quarter. But the Tigers had foul trouble in the second quarter, and the Rebels got nine of their 15 second-quarter points from the free-throw line. The Tigers were 1-for-8 from the line.
The Rebels had a 24-10 halftime lead, and Ryan Wilkins set Effingham’s pace early in the third quarter by hitting a 3-pointer. The Rebels used their height advantage by throwing down a few alley-oops and slam dunks in the second half, cranking up the tempo of the game.
“I think that if we hit some early layups and foul shots in the first half, it could have been a different game in the second half,” Hellgren said. “But when they hit the 3 to start the second half, I knew we were in trouble. We got in foul trouble, and injuries hurt us in the end.”
Three Tigers left the game during the third and fourth quarter. Reasha Stokes tweaked his ankle, Michael Burnett came down hard on his side and shoulder after jumping to block a shot, and Malcolm Dingle appeared to sustain a head injury with seven seconds left in the game.
Dingle did lead the Tigers in scoring with 11 points. Miguel Pineda added nine points.
“We don’t have the height to play the run-and-gun,” Hellgren said. “The only way we have a chance to win is to play discipline team basketball.  We have to take better shots than other teams because we are going to lose the rebounding edge most nights with our height disadvantage. But we will be fine, especially if we play with that kind of effort every night.”
The Tigers are 5-2 in the region and 9-8 overall
Both Bradwell teams are back in action tonight when they host Glynn Academy.
The Lady Tigers play at 6:30 p.m., and the Tigers play afterward.
Tigers 5|5|15|11 – 36
Effingham 9|15|20|21 – 65
Tigers: 5-of-11 at line. Malcolm Dingle 11 points, Miguel Pineda 9
Effingham: 11-of-22 at line. Jay Wright 18 points (including two 3-pointers), Jakeenam Grant 14, DeAndray Rhett 11
Lady Tigers 7|14|4|12 – 37
Effingham 10|15|6|4 – 35
Lady Tigers: 9 of 14 at line, Shaquoia Crockett 16, Akeyla Richardson 10

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