GREENVILLE – The Greenville girls basketball team beat Bradford 41-32 on Saturday to win the Annie Oakley Shootout for the first time in program history.
“It’s awesome; 2-0,” Greenville girls basketball coach Rachel Kerns said. “I don’t know the last time they started out 2-0, but it’s an awesome feeling.”
With wins against Graham and Bradford this past weekend, Greenville started 2-0 for the first time since joining the Greater Western Ohio Conference during the 2010-11 season. The Lady Wave also became the first program since Eaton in 2013 to win the Annie Oakley Shootout as Versailles won the previous three installments.
Though his team came up short against Greenville, Bradford girls basketball coach Patrick McKee also left Saturday night feeling proud of the Railroaders’ accomplishments.
“At the end of the day we’re proud of the girls,” he said. “They come over here as a Division IV school and compete with all these bigger schools. And to kind of be in this game and to fight like we did and put some pressure on some teams that’s what we really wanted to do.”
Bradford played tough against Greenville but was never able to take a lead in Saturday’s championship game.
Jada Garland started the scoring with a 3-pointer then Payton Brandenburg added five points and Morgan Gilbert 2 in the opening quarter as Greenville build a 10-4 advantage.
Bradford was limited to a single basket from Brooke Fair and Chelsea Gill as turnovers interrupted several scoring opportunities.
“It’s just like last night,” McKee said. “We got off to a real sloppy start. We didn’t take care of the ball real well. Big thing tonight is we didn’t execute. We didn’t run a single set offensively the entire first quarter. So the message was, you know, street ball is not going to work. It’s not our style of play. We don’t have those kind of athletes. We’ve got to work on our execution and getting the looks.”
After a slow start, Bradford was able to get going in the second quarter behind the play of Bianca Keener and Skipp Miller. The duo scored 8 of the first 10 points of the second quarter to tie the score at 12-12.
Greenville was able to hold off the Bradford charge, however, with balanced scoring from Gilbert, Haleigh Mayo, Brandenburg and Garland to go into halftime up 21-18.
“It’s how we’re going to have to win all season long,” Kerns said of the balanced scoring. “I don’t have that one that’s going to go out and give me 20 every night, but I’ve got about five girls that can go from 15 and 6.”
In the third quarter Greenville slowed down Bradford again, limiting the Railroaders to just 5 points, and built a 30-23 lead. Mayo led the charge, scoring 12 of her game-high 14 points in the second half.
Bradford was able to pull within 3 points at multiple times in the fourth quarter but couldn’t overcome its deficit as Greenville won 41-32 and claimed the fifth annual Annie Oakley Shootout championship.
“Defensively we gave up 30 the first night, 32 this night, and as a coach from where we’ve come, it’s awesome,” Kerns said.
Mayo led Greenville with her game-high 14 points. Also for the Lady Wave, Gilbert scored 9 points, Brandenburg scored 7, Garland scored 6, Koryann Elliott scored 2, Saki Nakamura scored 2, and Lani Shilt scored 1.
Miller and Keener led Bradford with 8 points each. Also for the Railroaders, Fair scored 6 points, Emma Canan score 5, Hannah Fout scored 3, and Gill scored 2.
“We’re proud of our girls,” McKee said. “We came out, we worked hard, and that’s the biggest thing we want to try to accomplish at Bradford is just girls work hard for four quarters. The message is going to be obviously we’ve got to execute a little bit better – we missed some shots in the paint, a few things defensively, a few miscues – but, you know, I’m happy to be here, I’m happy to compete in this game right now.”
Greenville will return to action on Wednesday at Northmont while Bradford will play host to Ansonia on Thursday.
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.