UNION CITY – Mississinawa Valley shook off a quiet start to Tuesday’s game, trailing 22-18 at the half to Bradford, and then outscored the Railroaders 34-20 in the second half for a 52-42 Cross County Conference win.
Bradford jumped out to a 9-5 lead, and just as the first quarter horn sounded, Mississinawa Valley was whistled for fouling Dialaquan Millhouse on a 3-point shot. Millhouse was good on all three throws, and the Roaders led 12-5.
Bradford ran its offense well in the first quarter and it carried over into the second period.
Parker Smith connected on a triple to expand the lead to 17-7, and a few minutes later Andy Branson’s trey gave Bradford its largest lead of the game, 20-9, prompting a Hawk timeout.
“We came out real slow and weren’t moving well. And Bradford did a nice job of getting the ball inside to their big guy (Josh Phillips), and he was bullying us around and able to score inside. He’s a strong kid and nice player,” Mississinawa Valley boys basketball coach Tim Barga said.
Phillips scored 8 points in the first half and 11 for the game to lead Bradford.
“We did a really good job of coming out tonight and executing in the first half, sharing the ball and not really concerned about who was scoring. And when our team is like that, it makes it a lot easier to score the basketball,” Bradford coach Dante Dunston said.
Mississinawa Valley then came to life when Ethan Bowman made a free throw and followed that up by drilling a deep corner 3-pointer that energized the crowd and the Hawks, and the silence was over.
With time running out in the first half, Bowman connected on another big shot to narrow the gap to 22-18 at the break.
“That was a big shot Ethan made at the end of the half. He had a hand in his face and knocks it down so instead of being down by 7 we’re down 4 and a little momentum going into the break,” Barga said.
Bowman started the second half the way he finished the first, scoring the first 5 points including a triple that gave the Blackhawks their first lead of the game, 23-22.
Bradford went back on top 25-23 on another triple from Smith at 6:02 … but the Hawks answered with a 3-pointer from Blake Scholl that started a 12-2 run, giving Mississinawa Valley a 35-27 advantage at the end of the third quarter and a lead the Blackhawks kept the rest of the night.
Matt Slob was big in the run, scoring on three straight trips down the floor inside for 6 points.
“Slob didn’t start the game due to ankle issues from the Randolph Southern game, but he gave us a few good minutes. He has a little more experience and knows where to be, and Ethan did a good job finding him,” Barga said.
In the final stanza both teams were lighting it up like a pinball machine, but the Hawks never tilted the game, scoring 17 points.
Both DJ Howell and Cody Dirksen score 5 points each in the fourth period to pace Mississinawa.
Bradford tried to rally but only scored 15 team points. The Railroaders got 6 points in the frame from Millhouse and 9 for the game plus a 3-ball from Parker Smith and Andy Branson; both finished with 9-points each … but it wasn’t enough as the Roaders fell 52-42 to the Hawks.
“We played hard and faced some adversity in the second half and didn’t respond when they made that run. Some of that goes to lack of experience in close games … but the positive side is we were in a close game, and that’s how you gain experience to use down the road,” Dunston concluded.
The Railroaders fell to 1-13 overall and 0-8 in the conference and will play at Lima Temple Friday night.
Bradford won the battle on the boards 30-27 but turned the ball over 21 times to 13 for Mississinawa.
The Hawks struggled at the charity stripe, going 8-for-23, which was a bit of a concern for Coach Barga.
Bowman led all scorers with 19 points, Slob had 10 and Howell 9 as the Hawks improved to 8-5 overall and 5-2 in the conference.
Mississinawa has two big league games coming up this weekend with Twin Valley South at home Friday night and then both the Ansonia boys and girls in a doubleheader Saturday night.
Score by quarters:
BR …. 12 … 10 … 05 … 15 – 42
MV … 05 … 13 … 17 … 17 – 52
Bradford – Parker Smith 9, Dialaquan Millhouse 11, Andy Branson 9, Jake Barga 2, Josh Phillips 11; Totals 6-7-10/17 – 42
Mississinawa – Max Dirmeyer 1, Ethan Bowman 19, Trent Collins 1, Alex Scholl 2, DJ
Howell 9, Matt Slob 10, Cody Dirksen 5, Blake Scholl 5; Totals 4-16-8/23 – 52