BROOKVILLE – The Bradford Lady Railroaders’ up-and-down season came to an end Saturday with a 54-30 loss to Covington in the first round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament.
While his team showed the ability to play great this season, Saturday was one of the times when the Railroaders didn’t play up to their potential, Bradford girls basketball coach Patrick McKee said.
“We didn’t execute,” he said. “We didn’t do anything we talked about all week. And I’m not trying to sound negative at all towards the girls, but what’s frustrating is the fact that we’re so much better than what we just showed. We just didn’t execute the little things – we didn’t box out, we didn’t take care of their penetration, we didn’t move the ball like we’d talked about all week against their zone and really get them moving and get them out of position.”
Bradford played from behind all afternoon as Covington started out the game on an 8-0 run. The Railroaders made a run late in the first quarter with five points from Mandi Bates and two from Mackenzie Weldy but trailed 10-7 at the end of the period.
Covington started to put Bradford away in the second quarter as the Buccaneers outscored the Railroaders 21-7, widening their lead to 31-17 at halftime.
Covington increased its lead to 25 points in the third quarter, 45-20, by outscoring Bradford 14-6 in the period.
Starting the period on an 8-2 run, the Buccs pushed their lead to a game-high 31 points midway through the fourth quarter. Bradford closed the game on an 8-1 run, winning the fourth quarter 10-9, but lost 54-30 to end its season with an 8-15 record.
Bates led Bradford with 19 points in the sectional tournament loss. Also for the Lady Railroaders, Weldy scored eight points, and Kelly Moore scored three.
Samantha Whiteman led Covington with a game-high 20 points. Also for the Buccs, Brooke Gostomsky scored 10 points, Jordan Crowell scored six, Carly Shell scored six, Arianna Richards scored five, Tori Lyle scored four, and Rayna Horner scored three.
Saturday’s loss ended the high school basketball careers for Bradford’s two seniors: Moore and Weldy.
“I have so much respect and love for those two kids,” McKee said. “They’re like little sisters to me now. I’ve been around them for four years. This is a tough one for me; this is my first class I’ve taken all the way through (high school). They’ve put in so much work to get where they are, and I really respect them a lot for that.”
Losing just two seniors to graduation, Bradford will have a core to build around next season. However, the Railroaders will need to put in a lot of work to improve and become more consistent, McKee said.
“That’s obviously something we need to improve in this program,” he said. “We’ve got to get more consistent but at the right end of things. These girls see that when you do the right things it works. We’ve had great games this year, and we’ve had games like this that they weren’t good games. Hopefully they see that and they realize what made those great games great and what made these not-so-good games not so good and we build on that.”