PIQUA – The Bradford Railroaders had a huge task when they opened Division IV sectional tournament play against the No. 6 state-ranked Russia Raiders.
The young team played hard and had some moments of success, but Russia was too strong on the night, winning the game by the score of 69-32.
In the opening period Bradford went six and half minutes without scoring before 6-foot 4-inch senior center Drew Patty scored, going to the basket to make the score 10-2.
Patty followed that up with another deuce on the drive, and two free throws by Andy Branson with 48 seconds got Bradford to 10-6.
Russia, though, took advantage of some late turnovers in its run-and-jump press and ran off six straight points including a bucket at the horn to end the first quarter up 16-6.
Bradford had its most productive offensive quarter in the second frame. Andy Branson had five points, Alex Swabb three and Walker Branson and Drew Patty each with two for a total of 12 points.
Russia would top that with 18 points … again taking advantage of its pressure that led to some easy scores.
After the break Russia put up 20 points in the third quarter, opening up a sizeable advantage 52-24.
“Russia is such a strong team, athletic team, and you can tell they have played together quite a few years. Every shot they had wide open they made you pay for it. That is what good teams do. They had a mid-range jumper open, boom … a -3point shot open, boom,” Bradford boys basketball coach Mackenzie Perry said.
Bradford continued to play hard despite the deficit all the way until the end, eventually bowing out of the tournament and ending the season by the score of 69-32.
“I’m proud of these kids and the effort they put in this year. They continued to play hard all the way to the end every game, and tonight was no exception. Understand they were changing the culture here … last year the kids would have been ready for the season to be over thinking about baseball or track,” Perry said.
For the game Andy Branson led the way with 11 points, Swabb added 10, Patty six and Walker Branson six.
Bradford is a young team with everyone back next year except for its lone senior, Patty.
“It’s always hard when the season comes to an end and hard to say goodbye to your senior. Drew Patty was the first kid to believe in me. He’s been our jokester, our leader, and he wanted to leave his senior year knowing he helped changed things around here for Bradford basketball. There is not going to be another Drew, and I’m going to miss that big boy. I really am,” Perry said.
“The season may be ending for Bradford this year … but this isn’t the end of Bradford basketball. It’s just he beginning. Right now we are a feel good story. Next year we can be the story,” Perry concluded.
Score by quarters:
Bradford … 06 …12 … 06 … 05 – 32
Russia ……14 …18 … 20 … 17 – 69
Andy Branson 11, Alex Swabb 10, Drew Patty 6, Walker Branson 5
Totals 2-9-8/9 – 32
Counts 7, C. Monnin 3, T. Monnin 4, Cordonnier 4, Gariety 2, Poling 1, Ball 5, Tebbe 12, Cook 2, Busse 2, Borchers 4, York 13, Dapore 10
Totals: 4-22-14/18 – 69
BR – 2 (A. Branson 1, Swabb 1)
RU – 4 (Counts 1, C. Monnin 1, Dapore 2)