BRADFORD – Bradford had moments when it played really well Tuesday night, but ultimately Riverside made more plays as the Pirates beat the Railroaders 51-39.
Bradford boys basketball coach Dante Dunston saw some positive signs from his team in Tuesday’s game, but he also saw room for improvement as Riverside outhustled Bradford throughout the night.
“I think we played hard,” Dunston said of his team. “The other team just wanted to win more than us.”
Bradford started well, taking a 2-0 lead with a basket by Gaven Trevino and then went up 5-2 with a 3-pointer by Parker Smith. The Railroaders also led 7-6 in the period with a basket by Josh Phillips but trailed 8-7 at the end of the quarter.
Phillips and Smith both drew fouls early in the second quarter and sank their free throws, putting the Railroaders up 12-11. However, Riverside outscored Bradford 10-0 in the final six minutes of the half to go into the intermission up 21-12.
“We had a key player get in trouble so we weren’t able to have one of our players on the floor,” Dunston said of Bradford’s second quarter struggles. “Just trying to teach them lessons and things like that.”
Bradford started to chip away at its deficit in the third quarter and outscored Riverside 17-12 in the period to cut its deficit to 33-29. Smith, Phillips, Clay Layman and Dialaquan Millhouse all contributed to the scoring for the Railroaders in the period.
With more points from Phillips, Millhouse and Smith in fourth quarter, the Railroaders kept it close and were within 5 points, 41-36, with less than three minutes to go.
From there Riverside closed out the game on a 10-3 run – with Bradford’s points coming off a 3-pointer from Smith – to win 51-39.
“We did a really good job of continuing to battle,” Dunston said. “Again it just came down to they wanted the loose balls more than we did. The 50-50 balls they got probably all but two, and if you want to win a basketball game that just can’t happen. You have to come up with more.”
Smith finished the game with a game-high 22 points for Bradford. Also for the Railroaders, Phillips scored 9 points, Millhouse scored 4, Layman scored 2, and Trevino scored 2.
John Zumberger led Riverside with 14 points. Also for the Pirates, Kyle Knight scored 13 points, Lane Willoby scored 9, Trey Lane scored 6, Kameron Schlumbohm scored 5, Jaxon Heath scored 2, and Alonzo Stotler scored 2.
Bradford fell to 1-2 with Tuesday’s loss while Riverside improved to 1-2. Bradford will return to action on Friday in its Cross County Conference opener at Miami East.
“We’re going to continue to work and continue to get better,” Dunston said. “Each game is a stepping stone for our team to get better.”
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.