BRADFORD – Bradford’s girls basketball team will look to utilize its speed and athleticism this season.
The Railroaders have some big holes to fill this season as they lost three starters to graduation – Mandi Bates, Ally Booker and Olivia Hart. Bates led Bradford with 18.0 points per game last season while Hart and Booker were third and fourth among Bradford players with 3.3 and 3.1 points per game, respectively.
Bradford’s top returning scorer is senior point guard Chelsea Gill, who was second on the team last season with 4.5 points per game while also contributing 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest.
The Railroaders’ other returning starter is senior forward Brooke Fair, who is Bradford’s top returning rebounder after pulling down 4.6 boards a game last season. She also averaged 2.2 points a game.
Fair and Gill are two of six players who are in contention for starting roles this season.
Senior guard Hannah Fout, freshman guard Emma Canan, freshman guard/post Skipp Miller and junior post Bianca Keener also are in the mix for starting spots. Keener averaged 2.6 points and 4.4 rebounds a game last year while Fout contributed 1.5 points and 1.1 rebounds a game.
Senior post player Ivee Brubaker, who last year had 0.7 points and 1.5 rebounds a game, will be one of the Railroaders’ key players off the bench.
With this collection of players, Bradford girls basketball coach Patrick McKee sees an athletic bunch that will be able to play more up-tempo on offense and defense this season.
“We have focused a lot on defense and have always been a primary man defense,” McKee said. “We will look to apply more pressure this year and use our athleticism and speed more often. We have some good pieces offensively but will still need to rely on playing selfless team ball on offense and sharing the ball to the open player will be a goal of ours.”
This year the Railroaders don’t have a player like Bates, who last year led Darke County in scoring, so they’ll rely on team basketball and a more balanced scoring attack.
“We have girls who are willing to fill whatever role they are given for that night,” McKee said. “We do not have a primary player that can carry the workload, but we have a lot of girls who are able to contribute. Our teamwork as a whole has been good to this point.”
To be successful Bradford will need to improve its communication and get all of its players working together, McKee said.
“This team will need to work on gelling together as we are putting a lot of pieces together that are not used to playing together in the past,” he said.
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.