Cleveland girls top Bearettes

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Cleveland High School girls' basketball team didn't have its best shooting performance Friday night against rival Bradley Central, but defensive effort made up for it.

The Lady Raiders forced 22 Bradley turnovers and got double-digit scoring from Jessica King and Cierra Anderson to take a 52-39 victory at the Raider Dome. The win gives Cleveland (20-8) a 10-2 record in District 5-AAA and secures second place in next week's district tournament.

The Lady Raiders already had a win over Bradley (13-15, 8-4) but, due to a prior coin flip, would have fallen to third place had the Bearettes won.

"Overall, both teams were playing for the same three things," Cleveland coach Rachel Moore said. "Second place in the district was on the line; there were obviously bragging rights because of the rivalry; and we were hoping to gain momentum with a good win."

King had 18 points -- 15 as the Lady Raiders took a 27-13 lead into halftime. She used her speed to race coast-to-coast for layups on four occasions in the first half.

"We've talked about her becoming a consistent scoring threat," Moore said. "She did a good job of that in the first half."

Getting over some first-half jitters, Bradley used a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 29-23 in the third quarter, but Cleveland's Courtney Delay keyed an 11-4 spurt over the final 2:56 of the quarter with a 3-pointer and a layup. Cleveland went into the final quarter ahead 40-27.

"We hit a lackadaisical spell in the third quarter and didn't have a lot of energy," Moore said.

Bradley threatened once in the fourth quarter, after Kayla Beavers hit two 3s -- the latter trimming the lead to 42-35 with 5:07 to go -- but Q'Schara Brown completed a three-point play and the Lady Raiders kept the lead in double digits the rest of the way.

Beavers had 12 points to lead the Bearettes.

"We have to take better care of the ball in crucial times," Bradley coach Bryan Glasner said. "We made a run but then had back-to-back turnovers and didn't shoot the ball well.

"We're young, but it's the end of the season and we're not young anymore. Some of these girls have played a lot, and hopefully it'll pay off in the postseason."