CLEVELAND, Tenn. — It was going to take an outside combination for the Bradley Central girls' basketball team to crack the code of the Rhea County defense early in their Region 3-AAA quarterfinal Friday. Chelsie Summars and Emma Kate Brown provided that.
The duo hit five of the Bearettes' six first-half 3-pointers, which opened up the court for Bradley posts Brooke Copeland and Rebecca Reuter. The hosts built a double-digit lead early and cruised to a 62-34 win over the Lady Eagles to advance to the region semfinals.
The tournament moves Monday to Cookeville, where Bradley (23-5) will face White County in a semifinal at 7 p.m. EST. The later girls' semifinal will pit McMinn County against Cumberland County.
Copeland and Reuter had 17 points each with 12 and 11 rebounds. Brown scored 12 points, while Summars added five assists to her 11 points.
"The first quarter was extremely frustrating, because it took us out of our game," Copeland said. "Our guards made some shots, and it really opened things up inside.
"Chelsie was great for us. Her ability to knock down those shots will be important for us down the road."
It took until the 5:04 mark of the first quarter for anybody to score, but Bradley had a 13-2 edge after a quarter against the cold-shooting Lady Eagles. Summars hit two of her three 3-pointers in the first quarter, as Rhea (22-9) had packed their defense in the paint. She added her third in the second quarter, with Brown knocking down two more as Bradley took a 26-10 lead into the locker room.
The lead was stretched to 19 after three quarters.
"I thought the girls stuck to the game plan," Bradley coach Jason Reuter said. "We tried to end the game early against Rhea, but we couldn't land that knockout punch until late in the third quarter."
The Lady Eagles (22-9) shot 23 percent (10-for-43) from the floor. They were led by 14 points from Jessee Wallis, while Amber Levi scored 11. Their four-year starter at point guard, Kelsey Miles, sat out due to a knee injury suffered in the District 6 consolation game. She was inserted into the game for about 12 seconds near the end.
"If you had told me we'd hold them to 26 in the first half, I would have taken it," Rhea coach Shane Johnston said. "There was no way to know we'd shoot so poorly, but the kids battled and kept pounding away -- we just couldn't make a shot."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.