Coleman Middle School eighth graders Malik Jones and Mikeldrick Bradberry were not going to let their middle school career ends with a loss to their crosstown rival, T.L. Weston Middle School.
Both Jones and Bradberry made key plays down the stretch Thursday night to help the Tigers defeat the visiting Eagles 35-30.
“This win was all about hard work and hustle,” said Jones, moments after he and his teammates were handed the Crosstown Showdown Trophy.
Bradberry said the victory was especially important because this is his last season playing for Coleman.
“I have a lot of great friends on this team, and we definitely wanted to beat our rivals,” Bradberry said.
Coleman’s Jamarion Brooks made a pair of free throws with 1:35 left in the game to put the Tigers up for good, 31-30. A layup by Bradberry extended the Coleman lead to 33-30 with 50 seconds left in the game.
Brooks then stole a T.L. Weston pass to set up two free throws by Coleman’s Willie Brooks to seal the victory.
Coleman head coach Camissa Jackson said the victory was a testament to the hard work of her players throughout the season.
“I told them before the game if they win the game then I will wear a dress to school,” said Coach Jackson, a science teacher at Coleman. “I guess I am going to have to do that now because they definitely earned it tonight.”
Bradberry, who hit a pair of three-point shots in the first quarter, led the Tigers with 12 points in the game. Jones scored six points and Isaiah Thomas also scored six points.
T.L. Weston’s Patrick Travis led his team with 11 points.
Coleman girls 21, T.L. Weston 11
Coleman Middle School eighth grader Arniecia Thomas has been playing on the Lady Tigers basketball team since the sixth grade, which is why she said it was so important for her to go out on top against her rival Thursday night.
Thomas finished with 10 points and made a number of key layups when T.L Weston closed the gap late in the game.
“All of my teammates deserve credit for this victory,” Thomas said. “It is very important for us to defend our titles.”
Coleman girls coach Janee Ford said she was proud of the way her team played.
“This team has a wonderful work ethic,” Coach Ford said. “Teaching them the game of basketball has been a pleasure for me. I also have tried to teach them lessons they will need to know throughout their lives.”
T.L. Weston girls coach Keyanna Nealon said she was pleased with the effort of her team. She said gave especial praise to Cor’niya Davis, Kaniyah Hughes, Ameria Jones, Nevaeh Ervin and Kenndi Gear.
“Most of all I am proud of team for exhibiting such great sportsmanship.”