PITSBURG – The Hangar of Franklin Monroe High School was the site of this year’s seventh grade girls basketball Cross County Conference championship game between the unbeaten Lady Trojans of Arcanum and the 16-2 Lady Railroaders of Bradford. The Lady Trojans rode a quick first quarter start to defeat Bradford 40-22.
“We came out strong, and our offensive game was on point in the first quarter,” Arcanum coach Ashley Matheson said.
The Lady Trojans were the offensive aggressors from the opening tip. They broke away with a beginning 13-1 run from which Bradford would never fully recover.
Defensively, Arcanum was able to hold Bradford on the perimeter and forced the Railroaders to take outside shots. Bradford could muster only three free throws in the period as Arcanum took a 15-3 lead into quarter No. 2.
“We practice having our post players’ help and double team their guards,” Coach Matheson said. “Our girls were a brick wall. They couldn’t get past us.”
Bradford’s offensive struggles not only held down the Railroaders’ score but also affected their defense. The Lady Roaders employ a half-court press after every made basket. As they began to score the ball they were able to generate a few turnovers, build a little momentum and start to climb back into the game. Though playing better at both ends Bradford was unable to cut into the deficit and trailed 24-12 at the half.
The third quarter was a defensive battle as the Lady Roaders outscored Arcanum 6-5. The fourth saw Bradford pull as close as 8 points at 29-21 with 5:27 remaining, but the Railroaders could get no closer.
“Made a lot of progress this year,” Bradford coach Jeff Wirrig said. “The girls played hard and worked hard for me. The girls are very coachable, willing to learn and willing to help each other.”
“See right now they’re a little dejected,” Coach Wirrig continued. “We’ll go back in there and talk about the positive part of the whole season. They should have a very successful run next year.”
The Lady Roaders, who finished the season at 16-3, are Karissa Weldy, Abby Fike, Madison Simons, Zoe Brewer, Ryler Canan, Alex Barhorst, Macy Cassel, Ramse Smith, Austy Miller and Ally Wackler.
The Lady Trojans, who completed a perfect season with Saturday’s victory, are Meghan McCains, Hailey Unger, Madelyn Fearon, Peyton Garbig, Ellie Fout, Taylor Gray and Karlin Merriman.