By Drew Terhall
BRADFORD — It was a close game to start, but the Bradford High School boys’ basketball team pulled out a 58-47 win over Ansonia High School on Dec. 9 at home.
Bradford head coach Jay Hall said he knew this game against Ansonia would be a tough one with the physicality the Tigers bring. He was happy with how his team responded to the physical play.
“They (Ansonia) had a very successful football season. A lot of those kids are competitors. Tip your hat to them, they came to play,” Hall said. “I’m proud of our effort and the way we responded to it. It was touch and go a few times where we could have packed it in and gave up a little bit and we didn’t. We fought through some adversity.”
Ansonia head coach Tony Overton said he wants his team to be known within the conference as a tough, physical team. They accomplished that mission this game, but still have some work to do to get wins against some of the WOAC’s best.
“That’s very much a positive. But we have lapses that where we’re not very smart,” Overton said.
The Tigers kept within striking distance during the first half. They were only down 18-10 after the first quarter and were down 30-22 at halftime.
The Railroaders were able to play tough defense in the paint during the first half. Ansonia was forced into hard shots at times. The tough defense did send Bradford into some foul trouble. Ansonia went to the free throw line often in the first half. They ended the game with 22 attempts.
Bradford stayed ahead in the game with the help from senior Parker Davidson. He had 19 points in the first half. He was outscoring Ansonia during the middle of the first half.
Hall said Davidson’s basketball IQ has helped him gain an advantage over opponents on the court. He’s able to stay one step ahead of the other team on defense. Offensively, he create his own looks.
“We don’t run a bunch of set plays for him. He’s a smart player, he plays hard, guys look for him, he’s able to get open and he’s very good coming off reads and things like that. That’s just him,” Hall said.
Ansonia did mount a comeback during the third quarter. The Tigers came out of halftime with a new found intensity.
They were out hustling Bradford to loose balls and started to get some turnovers. But as Overton said, their lapses started to cost them their momentum.
Davidson started to get going on offense again and sophomore Owen Canan started to get capitalize on open looks. Ansonia couldn’t take advantage of Bradford’s foul trouble and were down 45-33 heading into the fourth quarter.
From their, Bradford matched the physicality of Ansonia and closed out the game.
Davidson ended the game with 30 points. Canan was the only other Railroader to score in double figures with 13.
For Ansonia, nine different players scored for the Tigers. Senior Ian Schmitmeyer just got over double-digit points to lead his team with 11 points.
Overton said if his team made some more free throws, hit more open layups and did some of the little things right, they could have left with a win. He also said they will get there. It will take time and there’s no more excuses for this team.
“Football did slow us down to get started, but now it’s time to put those excuses in the past. Football season is over, it’s time to turn into basketball players,” Overton said.
The Tigers are now 2-2 on the season with an 0-2 conference record. Bradford remains undefeated with a 4-0 record and a 2-0 conference record.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]