Staff photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press-- Bradley Central's Rebecca Reuter and Cookeville's Loren White reach for the ball Wednesday at Bradley Central.
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley Central coach Jason Reuter regularly makes his Bearettes shoot plenty of free throws in game situations during practice.
"He tells us to shoot each one like it's a game-winner," junior Caroline Smith said Thursday after Bradley's 53-36 victory over Cookeville in the Region 3-AAA quarterfinals.
There weren't any game-winning foul shots Thursday night but plenty of opportunities in game situations -- enough to make up for a sub-par shooting night. The Bearettes finished 20-for-30 from the foul line.
Bradley Central (25-5) will take on Walker Valley, a 49-23 winner over Warren County, at 3 p.m. Saturday in the semifinals at Rhea County. The 4:30 semifinal will pit Cleveland against McMinn County, which outlasted Coffee County 47-42.
Bradley finished with only 14 made field goals, but its 67 percent clip on free throws more than made up for that. Kayla Beavers led the team with 14 points, going 4-of-6 from 3-point range.
"I was at a conference and coach Hubie Brown said that 25 percent of all points come from the foul line," Reuter said, "so you better spend a lot of time so kids will be able to make them in clutch situations."
The win was slightly soured because Reuter's daughter -- freshman Rebecca -- went down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter. Preliminary reports are that she sprained the lateral collateral ligament in her right knee, and she is doubtful for Saturday's game.
"We're going to hope and pray it's not worse," Coach Reuter said said. "She's a 14-year-old girl and she's never been hurt that bad, so we're hoping it's not and she might be able to go."
Bradley threatened to run away from the young Lady Cavs, taking a 16-3 lead early, but Cookeville went on a 13-3 spurt, closing the gap to three at one point and trailing by seven at halftime.
The Bearettes doubled that advantage by the end of the third quarter, then led by as many as 20 in the fourth.
"We should have put them away early, but we didn't," Reuter said. "We showed our youth; we should have put them down when we had them."
Monica Hammond finished with nine points and Smith with eight for Bradley, which gets a third opportunity against third-ranked Walker Valley (26-2). The Lady Mustangs swept the regular-season series.
"We're excited about the opportunity to play them again," Smith said.
Sydney Marek had 13 points to lead Cookeville, while guard Sydney Robinson had 12.