The Upperman Lady Bees and Bees each earned victories in the NXT LVL Tip-Off Classic on Saturday at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville.
Lady Bees 65 – Brentwood 40
The Lady Bees moved to 2-0 on the season with a 65-40 win over AAA opponent Brentwood.
Senior Torie Brooks tallied 25 points to pace the Lady Bees as they rolled over a Lady Bruins team that made the AAA state tournament earlier in 2020.
“I thought we played really well,” said UHS head coach Dana McWilliams. “We knew (Brentwood) would be a really good team. I could tell we were focused from the beginning. I just thought it was a great balance from our team tonight.”
The first quarter scoring started and ended with the sharpshooting Brooks hitting three pointers as the two teams battled to a 17-13 Upperman lead.
Junior point guard Brooklyn Crouch scored after a steal early in the second quarter to move the UHS lead to 21-13.
McWilliams was issued a technical foul and Brentwood buried a three to cut the deficit to 27-25, but Brooks then hit back-to-back threes to regain an eight-point UHS lead. Aiyana Levy made a layup at the buzzer to give Upperman a 35-25 halftime lead.
The Bees began to pull away in the second half. Reagan Hurst finished a layup through a foul and her free throw gave Upperman a 47-27 lead enroute to their 65-40 win.
Brooks made seven three pointers to lead the way for Upperman.
“She’s such a great shooter,” said McWilliams. “At any time shooters like her can get hot. Anytime if you leave her (open) you better look at.”
Hurst and Levy each added 12 points. McWilliams said the game was further evidence of how Upperman has a deep, experienced roster.
“We’re just such a balanced team,” said McWilliams. “If they take away one thing, we’ve got a lot of options out there. That’s nice as a coach to have.”
The Bees remained undefeated with the win. They will return to the court Tuesday when they travel to take on The King’s Academy. McWilliams said she is pleased with where her team is at after an unconventional offseason.
“We’ve been anxious to play since March when games got cancelled,” said McWilliams. “Their energy’s been really high. I’m excited for them. We’re a veteran team and that helps. I think having a team that’s older and experienced is probably to our advantage.”
Bees 49 – Clarksville NE 47 (Overtime)
The Bees earned their first win of the season in a thrilling 49-47 overtime win over the Clarksville Northeast Eagles.
The Bees battled back from a 10-point third quarter deficit to defeat the AAA Eagles.
“I’m just proud of our guys,” said McWilliams. “I thought we were a lot more poised defensively today. I thought we really played with a lot more composure. I’m just proud of our effort tonight and happy for our kids.”
The Eagles raced out to an early 6-0 lead. Senior Alex Rush then rattled off seven straight points to give the Bees a 7-6 lead near the end of the first quarter.
The two teams continued to battle through the second quarter. The Eagles got a basket and a free throw late in the frame to take a 23-16 halftime lead.
A three pointer by the Eagles gave them a 26-16 lead early in the third. Rush then helped take the momentum back for UHS with a dunk, then an alley-oop finish off an assist by Jaxon Fox to take a 30-29 lead.
The two teams battled through the fourth quarter. Isaiah Allen made two free throws with 35 seconds remaining to give Upperman a 42-40 lead. The Eagles buried a three with 10 seconds remaining to take a one point lead. Allen then made one free throw with three seconds left to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Rush made a turnaround jumper with 35 seconds remaining in overtime to give Upperman a 49-47 lead. The Eagles missed a jumper at the buzzer and the Bees earned the 49-47 win.
McWilliams said he was pleased with how his team competed.
“If you didn’t compete in that game you were going to get embarrassed,” said McWilliams. “We talked about that. We’re going to compete hard, try hard and do things the right way on the court. We’re competing with and for each other.”
Rush led the way with 21 points, six rebounds and five blocks. Allen added 15 points.
McWilliams said the win over a talented opponent should be a confidence booster.
“It should be,” said McWilliams. “They know who that team is. For us, we’ll take it one game at a time. We have to keep trying to get better every day. I think they understand what it takes. They did that tonight. They competed on another level tonight.”
The Bees will return to action Tuesday night at home against Mt. Juliet.
Photos by Noah McKay: