Bradford girls head full steam into sectional finals


BROOKVILLE – The Bradford Lady Railroaders improved on their second best record in school history by notching their 18th win on Tuesday over a feisty Springfield Catholic Central squad, 52-40.

The fourth quarter proved to be the difference for Coach Chris Besecker’s squad as they outscored the Lady Irish 15-5 to salt the game away. The table is now set for a rematch next Wednesday night against Cross County Conference champion Tri- Village, who beat Miami Valley 62-26 in the early game. Bradford improves to 18-6 overall while the Lady Irish, who hail from the Ohio Heritage Conference, bow out at 17-7.

Sophomore Abigail Peterson from the Irish led all scorers with 25 points, but was held to just two free throws in the deciding fourth quarter by the Roaders defense. Senior Bianca Keener led Bradford with 17 points, 13 of them coming in the first half. Freshman Austy Miller had 13 for the game with nine coming in the second half.

Catholic Central started things rolling with Peterson canning a triple for a quick 3-0 lead. Bradford responded with a Cassi Mead triple to knot things up at the 5:23 mark. The next three minutes were all Peterson and the Irish as they scored 5 of the next 7 points for a 8-5 lead. Bradford responded like it has all year with a run of its own and scored 6 straight points to finish out the frame with a 11-8 lead. Peterson had all the points for the fifth-seeded Irish on two rainbow 3-pointers and a deuce for 8. Keener led the Railroaders with 4 points in the quarter. Mead followed closely with 3 and Emma and Rylee Canan each contributed 2 points.

It was more of the same in second quarter as Bradford laced the nets for 17, while Catholic Central coasted in right behind with 16. Bradford had two six-point leads at the 6:15 mark and later on at the 1:54 mark. The Irish got it to 21-20 with 2:33 on the board, but could never take control from the Railroaders who hung on for a 28-24 lead at intermission.

The Irish finally got Peterson some help as Meghan Foster popped in 4 and Mallory Mullen had 3 the old-fashioned way to go with Peterson’s 7. Bradford unleashed Keener for 9 points while Miller and Emma Canan contributed to the count with 3 apiece to help keep the Roaders surge going.

Third quarter action shifted back to the defense that has won many championships as Bradford was held to 9 in their lowest scoring frame of the game. The Irish did hit double digits with 11 and tightened the scoring margin once again to a slim two-point advantage for Besecker’s bunch. Peterson again was nearly unstoppable as she scored every way possible with a triple, two buckets and a freebie for 8 more points to give her 23 at this juncture. Bradford had five players score for its nine points as everyone chipped in to help hold back the highly charged Irish who nearly wiped out a 37-30 Railroader lead by scoring five straight in the last 2:23 of the frame.

Bradford hit on all cylinders in the fourth quarter taking the fight out of Catholic Central. The Railroaders sped past the Irish to capture seven of the first eight points for a commanding eight-point lead at 44-36 at the 3:27 mark. Bradford continued to rail away at the Irish by never letting them get closer than six, which occurred at the 1:09 mark, by sinking critical free throws to earn a rematch with the Tri-Village Patriots. Catholic Central’s 5 points were its fewest of the game and they were led by Peterson and Lillie Bruce with two apiece. Bradford battled all the way nailing 8-of-15 free throws in the last eight minutes of action. Miller hit for 9 of her 13 by hammering home 6-of-8 from the charity stripe. Abby Gade contributed 3 the old-fashioned way for the sixth-seeded Darke County squad.

”We were able to play our game in the fourth quarter by putting our best defender Miller on Peterson and holding her to two points. Bianca (Keener) had a good first half as we were able to get the ball to her. We look forward to having another week of practice which is especially helpful with a young team like this. We look forward to playing Tri Village whom we played earlier in the season,” stated Besecker.

Scoring for Springfield Catholic Central – Trisha McConnell 2, Foster 5, Bruce 4, Mullen 4, Peterson 25 for 40 points. Four triples, 11 regulars, and 6 out of 8 freebies for 75 percent.

Scoring for Bradford – Gade 7, Miller 13, Emma Canan 6, Rylee Canan 3, Mead 6, Keener 17 for 52 points. Four triples, 14 regulars and 12 out of 22 freebies for 55 percent.

By Ted Landis Jr.

For The Daily Advocate

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