Bradford moves past Ansonia in WOAC playoff showdown


By Drew Terhall

PIQUA — In a rematch of the OHSAA Division IV Boys Basketball Southwest Sectional first round game from last season, 12th seed Bradford gets revenge with a 51-33 win over 17th seed Ansonia on Feb. 23 at Piqua High School.

Bradford coach Alex Swabb said there was a little bit of revenge on the mind after Ansonia bounced them out of the playoffs last season.

It was a battle to start the game with both teams not able to hit shots. Swabb said he is proud of his team for keeping their composure after a rough first half and playing well in the second half.

“I’m very proud of how we played. That’s the one thing going into halftime we tried to reiterate. We had plenty of opportunities. I think we had a four or five point lead going into half and we had nothing but good opportunities for it to be a bigger lead than that,” Swabb said.

Ansonia head coach Tony Overton said he is proud of the way his kids fought as well. This whole season, they have faced adversity and were always trying to find the right solutions to their problems.

“We only won six games, but we won six games. There’s other teams in our conference that didn’t win that many. Literally on Wednesday, we’re still trying to figure out who we’re going to play, what our rotations are going to be and what kind of defense we’re going to run,” Overton said.

It was a high scoring first half as Bradford led 22-14. It was a scoring showdown between seniors Hudson Hill and Trevor Hemmerich. Hill had 11 points in the first quarter with three made threes. Hemmerich had seven points in the first quarter.

Then the scoring came to a halt. Both teams just couldn’t get the ball in the net, even when they had good looks at the rim.

Ansonia senior Landyn Bowman scored the quarters first points on a made three with about 3:15 left in the quarter. Bradford still held onto their lead and went into halftime up 24-19.

Bradford extended their lead in the third quarter. Swabb said the team shrugged off their misses and kept their confidence up on offense.

They outscored Ansonia 12-6 in the third quarter. All game long, Ansonia had turnovers that stopped any momentum they had or stopped them from gaining momentum.

Hill continued to be a scoring threat and had 18 points after the third quarter. Swabb said Hill is one of his seniors that they can rely on to get them going offensively.

“The kid is an absolutely great shooter. We lean on him a lot. He provides us a ton of momentum when he knocks down those big shots,” Swabb said.

The Tigers did their best to hold down the Railroaders. They could hold them scoreless for some small stretches, but couldn’t get enough offense going to get back into the game.

Bradford continued to run their offense efficiently and did enough at the free throw line to seal the game. They also took care of the ball and rarely turned it over. Swabb said his more experienced players did a great job handling the ball and taking care of it.

Bradford was able to hold Ansonia’s leading scorer, senior Ethan Reichert, scoreless in the game. Overton said they found their offensive identity when they were running the offense through him.

He also said losing by this 18 with Reichert held scoreless is a good thing, it showed the team stepped up to try and remain in the game.

Hemmerich led the team with 12 points. Bowman had nine points and senior Matt Barga had eight points. Freshman Jacob Schmitmeyer chipped in four points.

Hill led Bradford with 19 points and senior Landon Wills had 15 points.

Ansonia will graduate six seniors. Barga, Bowman, Reichert and Hemmerich were able to play most, if not all, season. Senior Jakob Creager played in seven games before he went out with injury.

The team lost senior Garrett Stammen to a knee injury prior to the season. Stammen was the team’s leading scorer from a season ago.

Overton said the senior group looked up to Stammen and his presence has had a positive effect on the team.

“Great group, very competitive group. Loyal. But when Garrett went out, they lost their king. That was their identity. I knew it was a problem, but I didn’t know how big of an issue it was. Just having him at practices sometimes really helped,” Overton said.

Ansonia finishes with a 6-17 record with a 3-8 WOAC record. Overton said they had huge expectations going into the season and is disappointed with their record. He is extremely proud of how his team fought through the season and gave him their all.

“They do play hard. But as a program, we have a long way to go. A lot of those kids won’t pick up another basketball for six months. Then it will be the same thing over and I’m trying to convince them that we can’t do that if we want to get over this hump,” Overton said. “There’s a lot athletes at Ansonia and I truly believe that we can do something in the sport of basketball.”

Bradford will play the winner of two seed Troy Christian and 21st seed Catholic Central. The Railroaders lost to the Eagles on Jan. 13, 65-43, at home.

If it’s Troy Christian, Swabb wants his team to go out and play a good game against them. With the unpredictability of the tournament, you never know when an upset can happen.

“We were very competitive with them for a half and then we kind of lost our legs in the second half. They pulled away on us,” Swabb said. “It’s a very good team. We’re just hoping we can come out and play a very good game. We will see what happens.”

They will play next on Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. back at Piqua.

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

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