CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Cleveland girls' basketball coach Mindy Kiser hopes her team is a little more like the version she saw Friday night against Ooltewah, and not so much like the one she saw the first time the teams matched up this season.
The answer could be somewhere in the middle.
The Lady Raiders jumped to a 12-point advantage after a quarter and took a 20-point lead in the third quarter. They eventually withstood an Lady Owls run and claimed a 56-38 District 5-AAA win at Cleveland Middle School.
Nora Berry, Cleveland's lone senior who was honored between games for going over the 1,000-point mark in her career, led with 19 points. Jenna Scoggins and Hallea McClendon each added 11.
The Lady Owls got 18 points from India Corley.
Cleveland (11-11, 6-4) took advantage of some early Ooltewah miscues for the 14-2 lead that grew to 26-7 by halftime. The Lady Owls (3-8 5-AAA) trimmed the lead to 11 by applying full-court pressure and creating some turnovers, but the Lady Raiders were able to to hit some free throws late and win going away.
It was a far cry from Jan. 14, when the Lady Owls won 42-41.
"We didn't shoot particularly well in the first quarter, but Ooltewah was a little loose with the ball and we were able to capitalize early," Kiser said. "We watched film of the first time we played them, and I think we overlooked them and didn't play particularly well.
"Going into the playoffs, I hope we'll hit another stride."
The teams may well match up again in the district quarterfinals, which start next week at East Hamilton.
n Ooltewah was able to hold off Cleveland in the boys' game, 67-57. That ended a 10-game win streak for the Blue Raiders.
The Owls (13-9, 8-3) led 56-38 after three quarters but watched as the Raiders closed to within five points with under three minutes to play. Ben Snider had eight of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, including four crucial free throws late to help Ooltewah seal the win.
Jaymcal Johnson added 19 points for Ooltewah. Cleveland (14-6, 8-3) was led by Kendrick Thompson's 19 points, while Anfernee Scott and Cantrel Ware added 10 each.
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.