CLEVELAND 50, GPS 27
Cleveland 20 10 9 11 -- 50
GPS 2 11 7 7 -- 27
Cleveland (50) — Norah Berry 15, Scoggins 2, Q. Abdullah-Muhammad 5, Sydnie Anderson 13, Shawnia Anderson 11, Ware, Geren, A. Abdullah-Muhammad, Crump 2, Saliba, Capron, McClendon 2.
GPS (27) — Sharrock 2, Akia Harris 11, Farris 6, Jackson, Williams, Ca. Key 1, Ch. Key, Spears, Morgan 5, Crownover, Stamey, Shutters 2, Pitts, Ware.
3-point goals: Cleveland 5 (Berry 3, Sy. Anderson 2); GPS 1 (Morgan). Other highlights: Sh. Anderson 12 r, Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad 8 r (C); Harris 4 s (GPS). Records: Cleveland 9-3; GPS 7-4.
Things didn't start well for the Cleveland High School girls' basketball team in its semifinal Friday in the Times Free Press Best of Preps tournament at Chattanooga State. But after giving up the first two points, 20 consecutive points later the Lady Raiders were well on their way to a 50-27 defeat of GPS.
Cleveland (9-3), which ended the Bruisers' two-year run as tournament champions, plays Baylor tonight at about 7 for the 2012 tournament title. GPS (7-4) plays Chattanooga Christian in the third-place game scheduled to start at 4.
The Bruisers' Brianna Farris made a jump shot from the right wing a half-minute into the game. Then by the time Cleveland's Shawnia Anderson scored inside off a feed from a stumbling Jenna Scoggins, the quarter ended with the Lady Raiders up by 18 points.
"We play hard," Cleveland coach Mindy Kiser said. "We tell them when you play hard, eventually good things are going to happen. You've got to play through the mistakes and play through the missed shots. You've just got to play."
For the Bruisers, it must've seemed like the only missed shots early on were theirs. Sydnie Anderson's 3-point shot from 23 feet out front got Cleveland's scoring started in the second quarter and made it 23-4. And any thoughts of the Bruisers creeping back into the game were erased by a 9-0 Cleveland run to start the second half that made it 39-13.
"That's the best we've shot all year," said Kiser, whose team ended up 19-of-36 (52.8 percent) from the field, including 5-of-8 (62.5) from 3-point range.
Meanwhile, the Bruisers were limited to 12-for-47 shooting (25.5) and 1-for-9 (11.1) from behind the arc.
"There was a reason we missed a lot of them," GPS coach Susan Crownover said. "Cleveland was playing really hard on defense. They play physical and did a good job early on. That got us back in a hole."
Norah Berry topped the Lady Raiders with 15 points and three 3s. Sydnie Anderson wound up with 13 points and Shawnia Anderson totaled 11 and 12 rebounds.
Crownover praised the effort, particularly in the second half, by her substitutes. Nine reserves combined for less turnovers (eight) than the starters (nine), although starting point guard Akia Harris was the scoring leader with 11 points.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.