Lady Raiders, Bears roll to semifinals

Lady Raiders, Bears roll to semifinals

February 15th, 2013 by Gene Henley in Sports - Preps

Cleveland's Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad (20) is fouled by Ooltewah's Kaitlyn Kennedy (21). Cleveland faced Ooltewah in the quarterfinal game of the District 5-AAA Tournament at Cleveland High.

Photo by Robin Rudd/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - It had been a while since Cleveland girls' basketball coach Mindy Kiser had seen the Lady Raiders team that stepped on the court in the District 5-AAA tournament quarterfinals Thursday evening at Cleveland.

And that's a good thing.

The Lady Raiders jumped to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and cruised to a 66-31 victory over Ooltewah.

Cleveland (17-8), which forced 39 Lady Owls turnovers, will face McMinn County, a Wednesday winner over Soddy-Daisy, in a semifinal game Saturday at 4:30.

The Bradley Central boys defeated McMinn County 61-47 in the final game of the evening and will face Cleveland in Saturday's semifinals. Bradley's Bryce Copeland led all scorers with 24 points.

"Bryce had a good game, but we've had guys step up all season, and that's what we're going to have to have Saturday night," Bears coach Kent Smith said.

The Cleveland girls had 16 offensive rebounds and three players scoring in double figures, led by Sydnie Anderson with 14 points. It's one of the first games back after three players were suspended for fighting and a fourth who had to miss one game.

"We talked a lot on defense and had a faster start than we usually do," Cleveland senior Atarah Abdullah-Muhammad said. "We were unsure about how we'd do in the district tournament, so I'm happy we're progressing and I hope we continue to do well."

The Lady Raiders held Ooltewah without a field goal until the 1:35 mark of the first quarter. The Lady Owls scored only three baskets in the first half and trailed 25-11 at the break.

Cleveland used a 10-2 run to take a 20-point advantage in the third quarter. The lead did not drop below 18 the rest of the way.

"We had a lot of transition, pushing the basketball and finding people on the run -- stuff we hadn't seen in a while," Cleveland coach Mindy Kiser said. "I thought our defensive effort was really good. It wasn't always pretty, but we were on the same page.

"Any time we can score 12, 13 points a quarter is good, and it was good to have a lead and a cushion before halftime."

Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad had 13 points and Nora Berry added 10 for the Lady Raiders, while Bre Ware had six of the Lady Raiders' 24 steals.

Leondra Barrett finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for the Lady Owls (5-20).

"We continued to turn the ball over," Ooltewah coach Donnie Mullins said. "When you don't even get shots, it's hard to stay in the game."