BRADFORD – After trailing by 16 points at halftime Bradford managed to make Thursday’s game against Newton close, but the Railroaders couldn’t overcome the big hole they put themselves in and lost 46-41.
Bradford girls basketball coach Patrick McKee was proud of the way his team played in the second half, but he said the Railroaders can’t give up 31 points in the first half like they did in Thursday’s Cross County Conference contest.
“Nothing against Newton,” McKee said, “they’re a nice team, they do some really nice things, but I think if we play our best we were capable of getting this win tonight. And we’ve felt that way a lot here in the second half (of the season) that we’ve let some games go that we should have won. We’ve been competitive. It’s just doing the right things for four quarters.”
Bradford got off to a nice start with Chelsea Gill and Mandi Bates guiding the Railroaders to a 7-4 lead midway through the opening quarter. However, Newton finished the period on an 8-0 run and led 12-7 through the first eight minutes.
Newton continued to take it to Bradford in the second quarter as its 8-0 run became a 24-4 run, giving the visitors a 17-point advantage late in the first half. At halftime Newton was up by 16, 31-15.
“The second half we played a lot better,” McKee said. “The first half we came out to a quick start offensively, and then we just kind of gave up on our defense. We gave up 31 points, and we talked about at halftime we’re not going to be successful giving up 31 points in a half. We did some better things in the second half.”
Bradford turned around its fortunes in the third quarter thanks largely to its defense, holding Newton without a field goal for the first six minutes of the second half. With that strong defense the Railroaders were able to cut their 16-point deficit down to 5, 32-27.
However, Newton picked up its defensively intensity at the end of the third quarter and forced some Bradford turnovers that led to fast-break points and a 41-30 lead at the end of the period.
“It was tremendous, and these girls know that we’re capable of doing that every single night all game long,” McKee said of Bradford’s third quarter defense. “But at the same point we did a nice job and then they threw a full-court (defense) at us, and we kind of peed down our leg a little bit and gave up 6 quick points, and that deficit that we had just cut down to 5 all of a sudden now became 11.”
Newton led by as many as 14 points early in the fourth quarter before Bradford started to make another run. With less than a minute remaining Bradford had cut its deficit to just 4 points, but the Railroaders couldn’t get any closer and lost 46-41.
Bates finished with a game-high 25 points on Thursday. Also for Bradford, Gill scored 10 points, Brooke Fair scored 4, and Olivia Hart scored 2.
Tatum McBride led Newton with 20 points, Kaylee Kesler scored 13, Anna Wolfe scored 6, Macy Flanary scored 5, Kassidi Alexander scored 1, and Aliya Stine scored 1.
Bradford fell to 5-13 overall and 3-9 in the CCC with the loss. Newton improved to 11-6 overall and 5-4 in the CCC.
Bradford will play at Miami East on Saturday.
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.