WEST ALEXANDRIA – Bradford got off to a sluggish start against the Twin Valley South Panthers on Tuesday, which led to a 62-54 loss.
After the slow start Bradford played even with Twin Valley South over the final three quarters. But that cold start gave the Panthers an early lead, and the Railroaders had to play catchup the rest of the night. Still the Railroaders got a hot hand later in the game and made a good run at the Panthers.
But out of the gate, they missed four free throws and until late in the quarter they could not hit a shot from outside. The Panthers capitalized with a 17-9 lead at the end of one quarter.
Bradford would score better the rest of the way, and the defense improved. Coach Mackenzie Perry had decided to go with a zone to start the game as the team had been playing it well in its previous games. But he decided to change to a man-to-man defense when South shredded the zone. That change and the shooters beginning to hit their shots made the difference. It was 34-23 at the half. Bradford was stubborn and would not get out of the rear view mirror of South.
The third quarter was the best quarter for Bradford as the Railroaders would outscore South 20-9. The Railroaders gathered momentum and made a good run at the Panthers at the end of the quarter.
Parker Smith nailed a 3-pointer and then Alex Swabb hit a shot from the field, and suddenly it was a 2-point game, 41-39. South took a time out to get reset. Bradford did not have many fans in the stands, but those who were there made themselves heard.
Parker Smith found his mark at the end of the first quarter and would go on to score 12 points – all of the shots from behind the arc. He nailed two shots in the third quarter. He was so effective that South assigned Ryan Bassler as a spy on him in the fourth quarter and held him scoreless during a critical time. Bradford would score three players in double figures – Smith, Dialaquan Millhouse and Josh Phillips.
At 5:30 in the last quarter Twin Valley South still just had a 4-point lead. But South started to hit its shots, and Bradford had problems finding the basket. The Bradford momentum fizzled. Finally South could go into a slowdown and so held off Bradford for a 62-54 win.
“It was a well played game by both teams,” Coach Perry said. “It was a disappointing game for our team. We just couldn’t get it over the hump, and they can see that we are almost there. We just have to work on perfecting the little things that will make us better. The biggest thing was the offensive rebounds that we were giving them. We have to play better defensively, and the offense will come.
“Phillips has been a workhorse for us all year,” Perry said of his three players in double-digit scoring. “He finally got himself into a rhythm and scored well for us. Parker Smith has been steady for us; he is always good for 10-12 points at least. And Millhouse is coming back after an injury. He had a lot of confidence coming in and he proved himself on the court.”
Bradford’s next game is against Tri-County North.
“I know that they like to switch up defenses,” Perry said. “So we have to be ready for that. Last year they threw a box and one against us. But I am worried less about what they are going to do and more about what we are going to do. We have to box out, not turn the ball over and execute on offense and we will be alright.”
Scoring for Bradford: Smith 12, Millhouse 14, Swabb 8, Branson 8, Phillips 12.
Scoring for TVS: Marker 1, Bassler 5, Wells 8, Bowman 20, Meyers 5, Cottingim 8, Lovely 15.