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Archers ride bench, big first half to season sweep of Jefferson

December 18, 2014

Tiara Bradley  
Tiara Bradley hit a pair of 3-point shots to key a first-
half surge by the Archers in their 77-64 win over
Jefferson College.

On the heels of a pair of recent routs against overmatched opponents, women's basketball coach Shelly Ethridge emphasized the inherent benefits of providing a large quantity of minutes to a team's bench players.

Almost prophetically, those benefits paid dividends right away on Wednesday, as the Archers rode a strong performance from their bench to emerge from Jefferson College with a 77-64 win.

While starting shooting guard Deborah Holcomb led the Archers with 29 points, it was a pair of part-time players who keyed the victory.

Tied 26-26 late in the first half, sophomore guard Tiara Bradley drained a pair of 3-pointers to key a 25-6 Archer run to halftime. The Archers would never face a tied game following Bradley's pivotal contribution.

"I wish we could get consistent with it, because I never know who the spark is going to come from, but I'm glad we get the spark," Ethridge said. "Tiara's first half, she really changed the momentum for us in a positive way. Those threes that she hit were big. In the second half, it was Lorielle (Little) and Khalia (Miller) that were really standouts for us. As long as we can get our bench involved in the game, we'll be OK."

The win over Jefferson completed a season sweep against the perennial power, and made it four consecutive victories over the Vikings, dating to last year. Just two years ago, such a scenario seemed difficult to envision for the Archers, as they were dealt a pair of losses in the rivalry during the 2012-13 season.

Wednesday's proceedings displayed an about-face from that era, as the Archers eclipsed 50 points in the first half for the second consecutive game. That early burst was enough to help withstand a series of self-inflicted turnovers in a second half that saw STLCC outscored 33-26.

"Jefferson is a good ballclub, and I knew it was going to be an intense situation here tonight," Ethridge said. "To win against a good team like Jefferson on the road, it speaks volumes for our program."

The win gave the Archers (13-2) their third win streak of four or more games this year. They will have more than two weeks off before they look to push the streak to five on Jan. 3 at Daytona State College.