BROOKVILLE – It was senior night at Brookville High School so a robust hometown crowd was on hand.
Maybe it was the noise level or maybe it was the first game of the week on the road, but Bradford was consistently cold shooting from the floor. And offensively the Railroaders also had problems holding onto the ball – allowing 25 turnovers on the night.
Despite all this Bradford kept pace with Brookville until the last quarter when the Railroaders allowed the Blue Devils to go on an 8-1 run to break the game open for a 33-21 win.
Bradford started the game with a press and did a good job of deflecting the ball, but it seemed like the loose balls kept ending up in the Blue Devils’ hands. However, Bradford did keep Brookville’s offense in check for most of the game with its half-court defense.
It was only a 6-4 game at the end of the first quarter, and at the halftime break it was 13-8. In the first half, the two defenses had the upper hand.
“Our kids are athletic and can get their hands on the ball,” Bradford girls basketball coach Patrick McKee said. “If we can turn those deflections into steals it is going to help us.”
So defensively Bradford kept the game in check, but on offense the Railroaders had problems leaving the train yard. They were able to score by driving to the basket, but they could not hit their shots from the floor. And their offensive rebounding was sporadic and didn’t give them many secondary attempts at a basket.
Brookville got some traction with backdoor cuts in the third quarter, but Coach McKee made adjustments, and the Bradford defense took that away.
But right before the final quarter senior Chelsea Gill got her fourth foul and at a critical time in the game she had to sit the bench. It was just a 3-point game at the start of the fourth quarter with Brookville up 21-18.
The Bradford faithful had to be thinking that if their team got a couple of stops and put together a little run the Railroaders could get some momentum as the teams entered the final stretch. But Brookville would have none of it as the Blue Devils seemed to take advantage of the situation with Gill and went on a 8-1 run to start the quarter.
Offensively Bradford would not score a basket from the field until Miller hit a shot with about two minutes left in the game. She would lead all scorers with 16 points.
“She is a phenomenal player for just a freshman,” McKee said. “The effort and the energy she brings onto the court on every single possession is a real boost to the team. I appreciate everything she does for this program. She pushes other kids in practice and in games to get to the next level. She’s having a great year because of her hard work.”
But still Bradford stumbled down the stretch. Coach McKee was clearly disappointed in losing a winnable game.
“I thought we would do a lot better tonight,” he said. “We showed some good things last week, and we had good practice. We are trying to geared up for the tournament – the second season is coming up. We are clearly disappointed with tonight. We turned the ball over too many times. We did not execute offensively on what we were trying to do. You can’t give up 25 turnovers and expect to win.”
The Railroaders will need to recover fast for their next game, a league contest against Newton.
“We have to take care of the ball better,” McKee said. “They are going to come after us. They are very good defensively. We have to pass the ball accurately, dribble better under pressure and make smart decisions. If we fail to do all that, it could get very ugly, very quickly.”
Scoring: Skipp Miller 16, Hannah Fout 3, Emma Canan 2.
Rebounds: Skipp Miller 12, Bianca Keener 9.
Assists: Skipp Miller 2