Bradwell’s Miguel Pineda rushed past the Benedictine defense Friday night and banked in a layup with 1.4 seconds left to give the Tigers a 63-61win.
Pineda scored five points in the final minute after Bradwell failed to convert four free throw attempts.
“It was a good game. We had to come back, and it was an ugly win but a win at this point of the season, heading into the region tournament, is a good win,” Bradwell head coach Pete Woodard said.
The Tigers built a 12-0 lead. Pineda, who had a game-high 33 points, sunk four of his seven 3-pointers in the first quarter.
Despite the outside shooting and the Tigers’ strong transition game, Benedictine remained in a zone defense and continued to play methodical, fundamental basketball.
The Cadets kept clawing and fighting, forcing Bradwell into turnovers and converting them into scoring opportunities.
“I know that we got complacent tonight because we had a big lead early, and Benedictine just kept hanging in there,” Woodard said.
Dazjon Tinae added 19 points for the Tigers.
The Tigers finished the season at 13-12 overall and a 10-8 in region play.
Friday’s victory wing allowed Bradwell to lock up the fourth seed in the Region 3-AAAAA tournament, which begins Tuesday at Jenkins High School in Savannah. Johnson is the No. 1 seed and Savannah is No. 2.“The region is still wrapping play so we are not sure who we will see the first round. It could be Beach, Groves or Windsor Forest depending on the outcome of the remaining games,” Woodard said.
Bradwell will face its unknown region opponent at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Bradwell Lady Tigers closed out their regular season with a last-minute 51-49 loss to Brunswick on Friday night.
Bradwell opened the game and built a strong lead with an early nine points from Leiatia Leiataua en route to her game-high 16 points.
However, Brunswick increased defensive pressure and put Bradwell in foul trouble.
“The second quarter definitely changed the momentum of the game. We got in foul trouble and they were able to create turnovers because our ball handlers were on the bench,” said Bradwell Lady Tigers head coach Faye Baker.
The Lady Pirates tied the game, 25-25, at the half and set the pace for the rest of the game. Latisha Frasier hit a pair of layups in the final minute of the game to tie the score at 49.
But Brunswick got the last laugh as it hit a jump shot from the short corner on its final possession for the win.
“It was a good game against a good team tonight. We played hard tonight, but we didn’t play as smart as we needed to,” Baker said.
Smart play — such as handling the basketball better and cutting down on unnecessary fouls — is something Bradwell will focus on as the team heads into this week’s Region 3-AAAAA tournament in Savannah.
“Tonight, if we are smarter about making sure we get a rebound with four seconds left, we may get another scoring opportunity,” Baker said. “Also, we need to understand that sometimes it’s better just to give up a basket than commit a foul.”
Bradwell finished the regular season 16-9 overall and 13-4 in the region. The Lady Tigers will enter next week’s region tournament as the second seed behind Beach.
Beach will get a first-round bye, while Johnson and Islands fight for the right to play the Lady Bulldogs.
“We know we are the No. 2 seed … After we get past the first round, we will probably see Groves,” Baker said.
Teams must win at least two games to qualify for the state tournament.
The teams that finish first and second in a region tournament will host their first-round games.
The Lady Tigers play at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but Baker said she isn’t sure which opponent they will face.