BRADFORD – Marion Local’s length and defensive pressure was too much for Bradford on Tuesday as the Railroaders lost 68-17 to the visiting Flyers.
Of the 12 Marion Local players who scored in Tuesday’s varsity boys basketball game, only one was shorter than 6 feet. The Flyers’ height presented problems for the Railroaders the entire game.
“It is a work in progress, but I’m not going to get mad at their effort,” Bradford coach Mackenzie Perry said. “They gave me everything they’ve got. I mean when you’re going into a lineup when you see 6-2, 6-2, 6-5, 6-6 … I mean we’re trotting out there 5-7, 5-9, 5-10, 6-1, 6-2 … there’s going to be some holes; there’s going to be some mismatches.”
Both teams got off to a slow start as almost three minutes into the game the score was knotted at 2-2.
That’s when Marion started to find its offensive groove by taking advantage of its size inside with Ryan Koening and Tyler Mescher helping give the Flyers a lead they held the rest of the night. By the end of the period, it was 11-4 in favor of Marion Local with Josh Phillips and Walker Branson each scoring 2 points for Bradford.
“In the beginning, in the first quarter, I thought we executed as well as we can,” Perry said.
Marion also found it could throw Bradford off its game by ramping up the defensive pressure, which also led to many fast-break opportunities for the Flyer offense. With the strong defense Marion scored the first 18 points of the second quarter to build a 29-4 lead.
Bradford’s lone points of the second quarter came when Parker Smith drained two free throws following Marion’s seventh foul of the half. By halftime, Marion Local led 34-6.
“It was very difficult for them,” Perry said of his team trying to handle Marion Local’s pressure. “They’re well coached defensively. That’s a great tradition over there. When they ramped it up and they turned it up a notch sometimes a couple of our guys didn’t know what to do; we panicked. But at the end of the day good teams are going to execute, and if you’re still trying to learn how to execute you’re going to have holes like this.”
In the third quarter Bradford’s biggest player, the 6-foot 2-inch Phillips, found some success inside and scored 6 points. However, Marion Local continued to add to its advantage and led 52-12 by the end of the period.
After Phillips scored all of Bradford’s points in the third quarter, it was Smith’s turn in the fourth as the junior put in 5 points. Marion continued to pull away, though, and sealed a 68-17 victory.
Phillips led Bradford with 8 points on Tuesday, Smith scored 7, and Branson scored 2.
Mescher led Marion Local with a game-high 16 points. Also for the Flyers, Kyle Koening scored 12, Sam Huelsman 7, Nathan Bruns 6, Collin Everman 5, Trent Bohman 4, Ryan Koening 4, Jack Buening 3, Matt Kahlig 3, Tyler Prenger 3, Nick Tangeman 3, and Matt Rethman scored 2.
Bradford fell to 0-9 with Tuesday’s loss while Marion Local improved to 4-2. Bradford will return to action on Friday at Cross County Conference foe Tri-Village.
“We’re going to be ready for Tri-Village come on Friday,” Perry said.
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.