The Lady Blue Devils (11-3) were down by eight points at halftime, but shored up things defensively and started to get baskets to fall at the other end. Bremen outscored the Red Devilettes, 18-11, in the third and 18-9 to end the game in the win.
Even though the game won't count in the region records, it is still an important win for Bremen.
"We just knew we weren't playing up to our capabilities on defense, so we had to step it up. All season long our offense flows off our defense, so when we picked it up defensively — getting some steals and some rebounds — we got some good looks [offensively]," Bremen coach Kathy Matthews said. "It feels great. It doesn't matter, when we're playing Bowdon, it's a rivalry and it's good to win."
In the second half, the Lady Blue Devils made five 3-pointers after connecting on three in the first two quarters and did enough at the free-throw line late to put the game away.
For the Red Devilettes (6-4), it was a different night than they have had so far this season. Most games, the third quarter has been Bowdon's bread and butter, where they recover from a slow start in the first half. On Friday, it was another story as they came ready to play, but fell off in the second half.
Without the game counting in the region standings, the Red Devilettes have a chance to regroup as they get ready for a busy part of the schedule this month.
"To have an eight-point lead at halftime, and the first time we've played where the third quarter was our worst quarter. All year long, we've played third quarter basketball. [Friday] we played the first half and didn't play in the second half. Now, this can be good for the girls to figure out what we need to do," Bowdon coach Remonica Stephens said. "It doesn't count in the region schedule, so we'll get to play them again."
In the loss, Jacole Stephens had a 25-point, 14-rebound double-double.
Playing without Kayleigh Medlin through almost the entire game and missing Kalia Johnson for parts — both due to illness — it was Jamia Johnson stepping up for Bremen to help Jordan Hill with the offensive load.
Hill and Jamia Johnson scored 20 points each as they paced the Lady Blue Devil offense.
Bremen boys 47, Bowdon 41: Billy Pollard wasn't sure if the momentum from the tournament in Haralson County would carry over — and even though his team didn't put its prettiest effort on the court — the Blue Devils were still able to get the six-point win.
The Bremen coach was quick to credit the Red Devil defense, but also complimented the way his squad adjusted in the final two quarters.
"We didn't play very good. That was a very frustrating game. Anytime you play against that 1-3-1 [zone], you don't face it all the time, it messes you up offensively. The second half we gathered ourselves a little more. We just are not boxing out well right now," Pollard said. "They're going to figure it our or it's going to be a long year."
After the first quarter, the Red Devils (4-6) held a 16-12 lead, but only scored nine points over the second and third quarters — four and five points, respectively — allowing Bremen (6-8) to get back in the game. The scoring drought didn't hurt too much at the end of the first half, with Bremen struggling, as well, allowing the Red Devils to take a three-point lead into halftime. The third quarter was all Blue Devils, who outscored the hosts, 17-5, to turn the tables.
"We've been practicing for the last week. I assumed the guys were ready for the game, but obviously they [weren't]. It was one of those nights where we didn't hit any baskets. It wasn't that they were that much better than us, it was what happens when you can't [score]," Bowdon coach Antonio Smith said.
Trent McClure scored 21 points for Bremen, but it was Nick Forrister's 13-point effort that helped get the victory. Forrister scored the first seven points for the Blue Devils and hit key buckets down the stretch. For McClure, it was just another solid offensive effort as he drained three 3-pointers, including one at the third-period buzzer and went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute of the game.
"[Forrister] is a great scorer. He's elusively quick — he doesn't look real quick — but he's got a good first step and is able to get to the basket," Pollard said. "He's a catch-and-shoot guy. When you walk in the gym and look for a shooter, he's a shooter. He's a gym rat. He's really worked on his ball-handling and shooting this summer, and it's paid off. He's a good weapon to have. Of course, McClure too. You better guard No. 3."
For the Red Devils, it was Logan Reeves' nine-point effort leading the way, while Juwan Maze scored eight and Chris Keith grabbed seven rebounds.
Smith believes Friday night's game was the exception to the rule, as he saw a different version of his team on the court. They will try to get things going next week, starting with a Monday game against Woodland, Ala., at home.
"I told the guys in the locker room I thought this was our first night playing off, playing that badly. It's part of the growth. It doesn't count for the region and we have to just keep taking baby steps. Hopefully, we can stop taking baby steps and start walking. But we're going to take it a day at a time. We'll go back to the chalk board and find out Monday afternoon," Smith said.