BRADFORD – Bradford did enough on offense Saturday night but didn’t get enough defensive stops as the Railroaders lost 61-51 to Temple Christian.
“Defensively we could have been a lot better,” Bradford boys basketball coach Mackenzie Perry said. “We’ve been working really hard at getting back to our defensive principles and getting back to playing defense. We could have played a lot better defensively. Offensively we scored enough points to win. It’s just that when we needed to get a stop or we needed to get a rebound it was always an offensive rebound here and they capitalized, and (Seth Hohlbein and Brody Bowman), they broke us every time we didn’t do our part defensively, and that’s a hard lesson we’ve been dealing with all season.”
Bradford’s defensive deficiencies were evident early as Temple Christian built a 9-2 lead, a lead it didn’t relinquish the rest of the night. Even as Bradford’s defense started to improve and the Railroaders got a hand in the face of the Temple Christian shooters, the Pioneers had settled into a groove that carried them through the rest of the game.
“They have great guards over there,” Perry said. “They’ve got good guards over there, and there was a couple times we would have our hand in their face. But here’s the thing though, when you give up a couple in the beginning of the game and they get into a rhythm, the hands in the face, they don’t see that anymore.”
After the slow start Bradford was able to get going offensively and make it 18-11 by the end of the first quarter. The Railroaders built some momentum in the second quarter and went on an 8-1 run late in the half, which allowed them to pull to within 4 points, 30-26.
However, with just a few seconds remaining on the clock Temple Christian’s Hohlbein drained a 3-pointer from the corner and was fouled in the process, which resulted in a 4-point play and an 8-point halftime lead for the Pioneers, 34-26.
“It was killer,” Perry said. “It was killer because defensively we let him get a wide open look and then we complicated the thing by fouling him on the way down, which we just can’t do that.”
Temple Christian led by at least 6 points throughout the entire second half. The Pioneers led 50-40 through three quarters and maintained that margin in the fourth, winning 61-51.
“We came out and fought the second half,” Perry said. “We just needed to capitalize when we had our opportunities. I counted about eight missed layups. We convert the layups, we win the game.”
Andy Branson led Bradford with 16 points on Saturday. Also for the Railroaders, Alex Swabb scored 12 points, Parker Smith scored 11, Walker Branson scored 7, and Josh Phillips scored 5.
Bowman led Temple Christian with a game-high 22 points. Also for the Pioneers, Hohlbein scored 19 points, Noah Howell scored 13, Ty Callahan scored 5, and Darrell Clay scored 2.
Bradford dropped to 2-13 with Saturday’s loss, and Temple Christian improved to 8-7. The Railroaders will play host to Arcanum on Friday.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.