BRADFORD – Bradford will have eight upperclassmen as it begins the 2016-17 girls basketball season.
While the Railroaders have some experience, they only have 11 players in their high school program this season so they’ll play a varsity-only schedule.
“As a varsity only team this year, we are expecting everyone to have a role to help our team be successful,” Bradford girls basketball coach Patrick McKee said. “Each role may not mean equal time or equal points, but it is the combination of the roles together that will determine if we can be successful or not this year.”
Bradford lost two starters to graduation, both of who earned all-CCC recognition last year – Mackenzie Weldy and Kelly Moore. Weldy had 11.7 points per game and a team-leading 8.3 rebounds per game last year, and Moore had 4.2 points per game and a team-leading 2.9 assists per game.
Bradford’s top returning player is senior guard Mandi Bates, who last year was named second team all-Cross County Conference. A year ago she led the Railroaders with 13.1 points per game while also contributing 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per contest.
Competing for spots in the starting lineup this year with be guards Olivia Hart, Chelsea Gill, Hannah Fout and Bates along with guard/forward Bailey Wysong and forward Ally Booker.
Even with some new players, Bradford will attempt to do many of the same things it did in the past.
“The game plan has changed as the personnel of our team has changed,” McKee said. “We have had to change a few things to fit our personnel and allow them to be successful, but overall we have the same strategies as before.”
One of the big challenges this year for Bradford will be improving offensively. The Railroaders will vary their offense to fit whatever lineup they have on the floor, McKee said.
With several veterans on the roster, McKee thinks the Railroaders are ready for the upcoming season.
“We have eight of our 11 players are upperclassmen and been in the program for their entire high school career,” he said. “We already are entering a year with strong concepts of the things we want to do this year.”
McKee expects Bradford to be competitive in all its games this season.
“Our team goals will first be to control our response to any positive or negative event that comes at us,” McKee said. “We feel that when we can control our response, we are putting ourselves in a strong position to be successful. We feel that when we work together we can compete with any school on our schedule. That will be our goal is to compete at all times.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.