BRADFORD – The Bradford Lady Railroaders couldn’t overcome a 9-point first quarter deficit on Thursday. Despite a late run they came up short, falling 31-26 to Riverside.
It was an emotional start for Bradford as the Railroaders honored four seniors prior to the game: Brooke Fair, Hannah Fout, Chelsea Gill and Ivee Brubaker.
The Bradford gymnasium shined brightly with new lights, but that didn’t help the shooting percentage for the home team in the first quarter.
Bradford had a number of good looks at the basket, but nothing fell, and the Railroaders trailed the Pirates 11-2 at the end of the first quarter.
The Roaders had dug an even deeper hole, trailing 15-2, until Skipp Miller made a layup at 4:50 in the second quarter followed by a runner in the lane from Fout to get it to 15-6.
Bradford trailed 20-8 at the break.
Bianca Keener started the second half with a jumper to cut the deficit in half, 20-10.
Bradford outscored Riverside 8-7 in the third quarter with Miller scoring the other 6 points … but the Railroaders still trailed 27-16.
In the final stanza the defensive intensity of the home team was in full force as Riverside looked tentative and turned the ball over.
Bradford made a run when Gill converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to get the Roaders to 29-25 at 1:27.
They got it to 29-26, but despite a strong fourth quarter, scoring 10 points and giving up just 4 to the Pirates, they couldn’t come all the way back and dropped a 31-26 decision to Riverside.
Bradford was led by Miller who led all scorers with 17 points, Keener had 4 points and six rebounds, Gill 3 points and 2 steals, and Fout added 2 points and a rebound.
“That first quarter set us back a little bit. Hats off to the girls who fought back and played hard all night. Offensively, defensively they (Riverside) were strong kids, and we aren’t quite as big and worked hard trying to box them out. We did some good thing,s and I can’t say enough about the heart and hard work these girls put into the game,” Bradford girls basketball coach Patrick McKee said.
“People may not know this about the group of seniors we have: they came to me as eighth graders when our girls went to districts and said, ‘Coach, we want to be like them,’” McKee said
“As eighth graders they started doing 6 a.m. workouts in the spring trying to get ready for high school basketball. All four of them have always been in the gym doing early morning workouts and even on Sundays. Whenever they could get in the gym they would be in there trying to get better,” McKee added.
“That desire to want to get better is something I can never take away from them, and that means so much to this program as it rubs off on the other kids,” McKee said.
“We get great participation in the summer and we have a bright future. We are very talented with the girls coming up and that goes back to the four seniors and those girls before them who set the expectation and standard for our program,” McKee concluded.
Bradford will play the winner of Franklin Monroe and Springfield Catholic at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the second round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IV girls basketball Brookville sectional tournament.
Score by quarters
RI …. 11 … 09 … 07 … 04 – 31
BR … 02 … 06 … 08 … 10 – 26
Riverside – Smith 5, Sanford 4, Davis 11, Giles 5, Kreglow 6;
Totals 2-7-11/18 – 31
Bradford – Chelsea Gill 3, Hannah Fout 2, Skipp Miller 17, Bianca Keener 4;
Totals 0-9-8/13 – 26