BRADFORD – The Bradford girls basketball team finished strong Monday night in its game against Southeastern, but that didn’t provide much comfort for coach Patrick McKee.
“Terrible,” McKee said of the Lady Railroaders’ play on Monday. “We’re not going to lie about anything. It was awful tonight, especially the first half.”
Bradford struggled mightily against Southeastern as the Trojans dominated the opening minutes of the game. They were helped by nine Railroader turnovers in the first five minutes of the contest.
With Bradford unable to get anything going and unable to control the ball, McKee benched his entire starting lineup for almost a minute during the first quarter.
Even after the starters came back in Bradford still had no answer for Southeastern as the Trojans built a 13-0 lead with Maddy McKee leading the way with seven points.
Bradford finally broke its scoring drought with 1:12 left on the first quarter clock with a Mackenzie Weldy free throw, but the Railroaders ended the quarter down 13-1.
Bradford got its first field goal of the game just over two minutes into the second quarter as Weldy scored to make it 14-3. But Bradford couldn’t sustain any momentum and only scored four more points the rest of the half – a basket each by Kelly Moore and Mandi Bates – and trailed 26-7 at halftime.
“We knew they were going to play aggressive defense,” McKee said. “This is three years in a row now we’ve seen the same kids, Lexie Perry and the (Maddy) McKee girl and all of them. We know how they play defense. They’re aggressive. They’re in your face. They’re smart. We knew we had to take care of the ball. We knew we had to watch the shooters. And a lot of those that we knew we had to do we didn’t do.”
Neither team could get much offense going in the third quarter. Bradford scored four points in the period – all on free throws by Chelsea Gill, Weldy and Bates – while Southeastern scored five to go up 31-11. The only field goal of the period was by Southeastern’s Perry with 1:05 remaining in the quarter.
After struggling to get any offense going in the first three quarters, Bradford started to attack inside. Ally Booker quickly scored six points in the paint to breathe some life into the Railroaders.
“That was our game plan the whole night,” McKee said. “I never got a chance to watch Southeastern, but I knew that we had a good size advantage inside. And that was kind of our game plan, is, hey, let’s go inside. And we never really accomplished that in the first half and even in the third quarter. And then we kind of came out in the fourth quarter and we decided to try it, and it worked.”
Bradford also got some inside scoring from Weldy, Olivia Hart and Bates as it outscored Southeastern 14-7 in the fourth quarter as the game ended with a 38-25 Trojan victory.
“We saw a lot of improvement in the second half,” McKee said. “We had three turnovers in the second half compared to 12 in the first half. Obviously we outscored them by six in the second half compared to getting outscored by I want to say 18 or 20 in the first half. We just kind of compared what did we do differently in the first and second half.”
Bates and Weldy led Bradford with seven points each in the loss. Also for the Railroaders, who didn’t make a 3-pointer the entire game, Booker scored six points, Hart scored two, Moore scored two, and Gill scored one.
Maddy McKee led Southeastern with a game-high 15 points. Also for the Trojans, Perry scored 11 points, Leslie Flores scored six, Libby Hudson scored five, and Katie Eriksen scored one.
Bradford fell to 4-7 with Monday’s loss while Southeastern improved to 5-5.
Bradford will return to action on Saturday afternoon with a home game against St. Henry.