Arcanum wins a nail-biter at Bradford; Branson breaks Bradford school record


By Drew Terhall

BRADFORD — It was an indoor track meet in January at Bradford. The Railroaders and the Trojans from Arcanum went back and forth lighting up the scoreboard in bunches.

When the dust settled, Arcanum came out on top, 70-67, on Jan. 30 for their fifth WOAC win.

The Trojans were without key players in seniors Brady Lock and Nathan Koller. Arcanum head coach Kevin Brackman said he is proud of his team for their efforts as this was a total team win. The bond the players have through all levels of the program helped them grabbed this win.

“We dug into our JV bench a little bit. Cole Kessler had to play big time minutes for us. I think it just speaks volumes to the commardary and the trust they have built,” Brackman said.

The game of runs started from the tip off. Arcanum opened the game on a 13-2 run. Brackman said he knew it was going to be a high scoring game where the pace of play was only going to get faster, just how both teams like it.

Then Bradford junior Dalton Branson came into the game. Off the bench, Branson made four straight three-point shots to give Bradford a 14-13 lead.

Once Bradford got a lead, then Arcanum came back with a run. Returning the favor, Bradford went on an 8-2 run at the end of the second quarter to go into halftime up 37-32.

Branson made three more threes in the second quarter to bring is first half total to 21 points. Bradford made nine total threes in the first half.

Brackman said they knew Branson loved to shoot it. He said it was one of those memorable nights for Branson where everything that left his hands went in.

“Even though we were down, we were playing good basketball. We were coming down, we were getting stops. It was just 21 of their points were in the hands of Branson,” Brackman said. “Just extremely proud of my guys.”

Around the teams went again. Bradford struggled a bit offensively to start the third quarter and Arcanum made a run to tie the game, 45-45.

In the third quarter, Branson made his eighth three of the game. That broke the school record for three pointers made in a game. Bradford coach Alex Swabb said it was great to see Branson break a record that has been around for a long time.

“Once he got on, he’s very hard to turn off. That’s exactly what happened tonight. Congrats to that kid for breaking that record. I know that one stood for a good long while,” Swabb said.

The Railroaders ended the third quarter on a 7-0 run to go up 52-45 at the end of the third. Swabb dug into his bench as well and got quality minutes from sophomore Greg Chowning and freshman Rallie Wirrig.

Then the final minutes of the fourth quarter arrived. With about three minutes left, it was all tied up at 58-58.

Bradford junior Owen Canan made a bucket to give Bradford the lead. Then for the next two minutes, Arcanum hung around but couldn’t get the one bucket to go in to grab a lead.

Canan scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, all trying to extend Bradford’s lead.

Now down 67-63 with just under a minute left, junior Landon Flatter drove to the rim and drew a foul while scoring the layup. He finished the three-point play to get within one point.

Brackman said guys like Flatter, sophomore Matthew McCans and senior Bryalen Etherington all stepped up offensively and gave their team a chance to win all while sophomore and leading scorer Regan Christ was on the bench for most of the first half in foul trouble. Defensively, there were many more players who stepped up as well to contain Bradford’s best players.

Brackman said his guys did enough to compete with who he considers one of the best point guards in the league in Canan, one of the better shooters in the league in senior Hudson Hill and one of the better rebounders in the league in senior Landon Wills.

“We knew that Hudson Hill is one of the best shooters in the league. For us to come in and held him to eight points, that’s an accomplishment that goes unnoticed by Rylan Murray,” Brackman said. “He doesn’t score a lot, but he gets rebounds. He gets hustle plays. He’s on every team’s best player. His effort along with Caleb Burke and Luke Henniger for them to come in and guard Landon Wills, a guy that leads our conference in rebounds. We knew what were up against.”

It was Christ’s time to shine in the second half. He scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half.

Down one, Christ was fouled on a three-point shot attempt. From the line, he went 2 for 3 to gain a 68-67 lead.

After a stop, Arcanum went back to the line but missed both free throws. Bradford tried all they could to execute the in bounds play, but turned it over and Christ went back to the line. He went 2 for 2 to go up three and forced Bradford to make a three with five seconds left.

Brackman said Christ not only reaped the benefits of the work he puts in everyday shooting 100 free throws a day, it was his ability to stay engaged in the game from the bench and remaining cool, calm and collected in those pressure moments.

“For him to sit and trust his teammates and still stay engaged in the game knowing that we needed him late. We were able to put him in opportunities, and hoping, to make plays. A lot of that stuff comes naturally,” Brackman said.

For Bradford, it just came down to a few moments where they didn’t play their best. The effort was there, but they couldn’t take care of the ball.

“We didn’t take care of the ball the way we needed to down the stretch. That’s what it came down to,” Swabb said.

Christ led with 22 points for Arcanum. Flatter finished with 18 points and Murray had 10 points. For Bradford, Branson led with 24 points. Canan had 16 points and Wills had 15 points.

Bradford recently went through a similar situation. They led 31-19 at halftime against Franklin Monroe on Jan. 27 and lost. Swabb said right now, they are giving teams free points when they can’t afford to.

“It comes down to taking better care of the ball and playing better defense. Right now, we’re giving teams a lot more free points than we should. That’s on us, discipline and effort wise defensively. A lot of times, we do a lot of the right things. Then we let a couple mistakes here and there slip through,” Swabb said.

Bradford is 9-7 on the season with a 5-3 WOAC record. They will be at Tri-Village on Feb. 2 for a 7:30 p.m. tip off and then will host Northeastern on Feb. 3 at 7:15 p.m.

Arcanum is 10-8 on the season with a 5-3 WOAC record. They will host Franklin Monroe on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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