Quickly getting out to a 10-0 lead, third-seeded North Cobb must have thought it would have an easy night Friday against the Bradwell Lady Tigers.
If so, North Cobb thought wrong because the Lady Tigers weren’t willing to go down on their home court without a fight.
The visiting team eventually did earn the 60-54 win, but it definitely wasn’t easy as Bradwell’s 3-point shooting nearly brought the Tigers the win in the first round of the state playoffs.
The Kennesaw girls towered over the Lady Tigers with players standing 5 feet 11 inches tall, but the Lady Tigers had speed and heart.
After missing a few baskets under the hoop, the BI girls settled down and found a rhythm. Latisha Frasier got a quick layup, Symone May had a put-back and Shaquoia Crockett nailed a 3-pointer to avoid the first-quarter shutout.
It was the first of six 3-pointers for Crockett, who finished with 21 points. But North Cobb had Taylor Gordon and Amber Reeves, who showed the BI girls they could hit the long shots, too. Gordon and Reeves were set up well on the perimeter by teammates, and they also did a good job in drawing fouls. The Warriors were 17-of-30 at the line.
Trailing, 15-7, in the second quarter, Crockett hit a 3-pointer and later a layup, but the Warriors responded with a 3-pointer, free throws and a steal to extend their lead.
Akeyla Richardson came off BI’s bench and quickly contributed a layup and a free throw. Leitia Leiataua added two free throws, and Crockett added two more shots from behind the 3-point line.
Gordon answered with a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the BI girls trailed, 32-25, at intermission.
Early in the second half, Bradwell was 5-of-6 from the line and chipped away at North Cobb’s lead. The Lady Tigers controlled the tempo and were methodical in finding the open player for the shots.
In the fourth quarter, Leiataua hit a 3-pointer, and, minutes later, found Crockett in the corner for another 3-pointer to tie the game at 51 with two minutes left.
Cobb added some points, but Richardson hit a layup to cut the visitor’s lead to one point with 1:36 left.
However, the Warriors drew fouls three times as time was expiring, and free throws kept Bradwell at bay.
“I feel we played above and beyond,” Bradwell coach Faye Baker said. “We were undersized, but our girls gave it everything they had. It was a valiant effort.”
The Lady Tigers end the season at 17-11 overall and 12-5 in Region 3-AAAAA. North Cobb moves on in the state tournament with a 22-8 record.
“This region is tough,” Baker said. “Last year, we were 29-0 and a team from this region came here, wore us out and won by 25. For us to be able to hang with them tonight the way we did shows the effort our young ladies put forth. They played with heart.”
North Cobb 60, BI 54
NC 14 18 11 17-60
BI 7 18 13 16-54
NC top scorers: Taylor Gordon 22, Amber Reeves 21.
BI top scorers: Shaquoia Crockett 21 points (6 3-pointers), Leitia Leiataua 9, Akeyla Richardson 9, Treniece Boles 7, Latisha Frasier 4, Kelissa Hargrove 2, Symone May 2