Hill and Medlin combined to score 32 of the Lady Blue Devils’ 40 second-half points to flip a two-point halftime deficit into a 15-point semifinal triumph over the Lady Braves, who also happen to be a new Region 5-AA foe that Bremen will attempt to dethrone once the calendar turns over to January.
Hill led all scorers with 28 points and four rebounds, while Medlin posted a double-double with 19 points and 12 boards, scoring 14 of her points in the second half to help send Bremen (9-3) into today’s 7 p.m. title tilt against South Paulding (5-6).
And while Bremen coach Kathy Matthews has grown accustomed to seeing Hill do what Hill does, she said it’s vital that her ball club gets that additional scoring help from one of its other key players. And on Friday, it just so happened to be the Lady Blue Devils’ 6-foot-1 senior center in Medlin.
“That was huge. Jordan, you know, is going to come through for us and score some big points, but we knew we were going to have to have the post established in this game, and I thought we did,” Matthews said.
Heard County (2-5) held a two-point lead after the opening quarter at 11-9 and at halftime, 21-19, winning the battle of the boards early and getting some transition buckets from its athletic backcourt, led by junior twins Shemeka and Jemeka Parks, along with senior Jasmine Cook. Jemeka Parks scored nine of her team-best 20 points in the opening half, and Matthews said stopping the Lady Braves’ penetration was key in the second half.
“They’re tough to contain. You’ve just got to know when they’re going to drive, you’ve got to be able to help with the backside defense. So that’s what we were able to do a couple of times,” Matthews said.
Bremen outscored the Lady Braves, 40-23, in the second half, closing the third quarter on a 9-2 run and then opening the fourth quarter on a 12-5 spurt to build its biggest lead of the night to that point at 14 points. Heard County cut the deficit to 12 on two separate occasions down the stretch, but never could get it back down to single digits.
“We came in at halftime and we knew coming out that we had to do a much better job at blocking out and not giving up offensive boards. Another thing, we had to get on the boards, as well. Of course, we had to play a little transition defense. We stepped it up and started hitting some shots and playing Bremen basketball,” Matthews said.
Heard County falls into today’s third-place game against host Haralson County at 4 p.m., while the Lady Blue Devils will go after that elusive tourney title tonight at 7 against the Lady Spartans.
“We’ve played in the championship before, but we’ve never won it. So that’s our goal. We want to win it,” Matthews said.
In other Invitational action from Friday:
Central girls 54, Rockmart 15: In the afternoon consolation contest, the Lady Lions (6-4) scored the game’s first 27 points before Lady Jacket guard Josie Depew converted Rockmart’s only field goal of the first half with 1:23 remaining in the second quarter.
Central was able to put it on cruise control in the second half, getting quality minutes from all nine players that dressed.
Lady Lion coach Jimmy LeBlanc said coming out ready to play was the initial concern after having already beaten Rockmart by a 65-18 tally last week and coming off a frustrating loss to Bremen on Thursday night in the opening round of the tournament.
“That’s hard, considering the way the first game went [against Rockmart] and then it’s hard after [Thursday] night to really come in strong and focused in a consolation situation. We worked on a lot of things and got a lot of playing time for a lot of young ones. And I say young ones, they’re just about all young,” LeBlanc said. “So that’s really what we needed and I thought we did a good job of it.”
Central had six of its nine players score at least four points, led by junior forward Sherae Bonner with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while sophomore forward Brianna Cousins also posted a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Cousins may have also connected on the shot of the tournament — although it probably wasn’t the way she envisioned scoring the bucket.
On a feed to the post in the fourth quarter, Cousins’ glasses got knocked loose and were falling to the ground when she caught them and the ball simultaneously in motion, then proceeded to make a spin move and bank in a four-footer with her glasses still in hand.
“Just like it was everyday for her,” LeBlanc laughed. “That was a neat play and they all had a good time with it. That got the crowd into it a little bit.”
Along with Bonner and Cousins posting double-doubles, Wesli Simmons added eight points and five rebounds, while Jasmine Thrash dropped in seven points with five boards, Cici Hammett had five points and five rebounds and Sydney LeBlanc finished with four points.
Central wraps up the holiday tournament scene today in the fifth-place game against Cleburne County at 1 p.m.