ARCANUM – The Arcanum Trojans executed well on defense for four quarters on Friday and were productive offensively for three of those four quarters, which was enough to earn them a 61-38 win over Bradford.
Arcanum got out the gate quickly and before Bradford knew it the Railroaders were down 14-0.
The Railroaders responded with a thoroughbred of their own with Andy Branson breaking the run with a triple at 3:48. Branson then went on a tear, scoring all 10 first quarter points for Bradford.
Grant Delk was working well inside in the first period with 9 points. Carter Gray scored 8 and Evan Atchley 3 to put the Trojans up 20-10 after one quarter of play.
As hot as Arcanum was in the first quarter, the Trojans couldn’t have been colder in the second as they failed to make a single field goal. In fact, they went seven straight minutes without scoring until Gray knocked down two tosses from the free throw line at 1:32 for their only points in the second quarter.
Bradford wasn’t able to take advantage as Branson picked up two charging calls early in the second quarter and had to sit the rest of the first half with three fouls.
“Taking those charges on Branson were big,” Arcanum boys basketball coach Marcus Bixler said. “We are doing the little things better. We had four or five tonight and the same the other night. We do a challenge each week for charges and diving on the floor, and the guys are getting a kick out of it.”
Bradford won the quarter, scoring 6 points with Dialaquan Millhouse getting 4 of them, to pull the Roaders to within 22-16 at the break.
“Offensively shots just didn’t drop in the second quarter, and we’ve had instances of that all year,” Bixler said. “I thought our guys did a good job of staying solid on the defensive end. In the past when we aren’t scoring we tend to let up on defense. But we kept up the intensity, contested shots and rotated well on defense, and that really kept us in the game.”
The lid was off the basket in the third quarter as Gray nailed back-to-back triples at 4:14 to go up 32-21.
Bradford scrapped and hung around as Parker Smith hit a 3-pointer, and the Roaders cut the margin to 35-27, but Arcanum finished with the last 5 points to take a 40-27 lead into the final stanza.
Gray converted an and-one to start the fourth quarter and followed it up with another drive to the basket to extend the lead to 45-27.
Branson, who lead Bradford with 14 points on the night, saw limited action in the second half and fouled out early in the fourth quarter. Millhouse tried to pick up the slack, scoring 5 of his 11 points in the final period, but it wasn’t enough to make up the deficit.
Gray had 23 points for Arcanum and the big guy inside Delk added 20 to help Arcanum to a 61-38 Cross County Conference win.
Arcanum improved to 8-10 on the year and 3-7 in the CCC. The Trojans will play at Twin Valley South Friday night.
“Now we have to get ready to go on the road to Preble County for two tough road games. It’s really is good to be on a three-game winning streak. We just need to keep bringing that same level of intensity,” Bixler concluded.
Bradford fell to 1-15 overall and 0-9 in the conference and will play at Lehman Catholic Saturday night.
Score by quarters
BR … 10 … 06 … 11 … 11 – 38
AR … 20 … 02 … 18 … 21 – 61
Bradford – Parker Smith 5, Dialaquan Millhouse 11, Andy Branson 14, Layman 2, Josh Phillips 6; Totals 4-11-4/5 – 38
Arcanum – Isaiah Hootman 1, Carter Gray 23, Wills Troutwine 2, Wade Meeks 1, Evan Atchley 6, Andrew Baker 2, Zach Smith 6, Grant Delk 20; Totals 5-16-14/22 – 61