BRADFORD – With 6:47 remaining in the game and trailing 58-36, it would have been easy for Bradford to have gone through the motions for the rest of the game and let the Riverside Pirates win a laugher.
The young men of Coach Mackenzie Perry had other ideas. The Railroaders became much more aggressive offensively, and some open looks finally began to fall while defensively they used the strategy of sending the Pirates to the free throw line to see if they could sustain their lead from there. When the final buzzer sounded Bradford came up short but just by the score of 73-64.
“I’m proud they didn’t quit,” Coach Perry said. “Thirty points in the fourth quarter, that’s unheard of. I think a lot of people came out of this gym thinking Bradford’s not going to be a pushover, and I’m glad I can be a part of it.”
The Roaders outscored the Pirates 28-15 after the 6:47 mark of the fourth quarter. Alex Swabb led the comeback with 13 in the period while Drew Patty, playing his final home game, contributed seven. This was probably the best quarter of offensive basketball that Bradford had put together all season. Again, the Roaders’ attitude was a key factor.
“They want to win,” Perry said. “They want to change it. They believe in their crazy coach who thinks we can win every game.”
The Bradford boys basketball team opened the game playing a two-three zone. Riverside had little problem dismantling this defense. Combine that with several Bradford turnovers, and it equaled a Pirate 10-3 lead halfway through the period. The Roaders switched to man to man but still found scoring difficult. The Pirates led after one, 16-8.
Riverside extended its lead thanks to an opening 15-4 second quarter run that gave the Pirates a 31-12 advantage. During that stretch Landon Kelsey became a 1,000 point scorer for the Pirates. Bradford would add five to its total before the intermission to make the score 33-17 at the break.
The Pirates widened the margin further in the third quarter by outscoring the Roaders 22-17. Bradford had four players score in the period, but it seemed for most of the period that Riverside could not miss.
The senior night activities wrapped up the home career of Patty of the Railroaders.
“Drew will be remembered as the first senior to buy in,” Perry said. “The first day of camp he was the first one in … I’m thinking, wow, this guy has something special … He believed in me from the get-go … That’s my leader, my jokester, my kid that’s going to hustle. He just does not quit … He’s the one that helped start that whole momentum thing. That said we can do this. Drew’s gonna be missed.”
Swabb led the Roaders in scoring with 18 while Patty contributed 14 and Dialaquan Millhouse and Andy Branson each added nine. For Riverside Jesse Kean led all scorers with 20. Kelsey had 14, and Dakota Bollinger added 10.
The loss dropped Bradford to 2-20 on the season. The Roaders face Russia at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Piqua High School in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IV boys basketball tournament.
Riverside – 73
Sanford 3, Kelsey 14, Bollinger 10, Shane Crawford 2, Stevens 5, Kean 20, Helmlinger 7, Kreglow 3, Shawn Crawford 9.
Bradford – 64
Smith 2, Millhouse 9, A Branson 9, Swabb 18, N Branson 6, Patty 14, Phillips 6.
3-pointers: R: 4(Sanford, Kelsey, Bollinger 2); Brad: 2(A Branson, Swabb)
Free throws: R: 15-33; Brad: 22-31.