BRADFORD – It isn’t often that a team holds Tri-Village to under 40 points, but that is exactly what Bradford did on Thursday night in the Cross County Conference opener for both teams.
Despite the Patriots low offensive output, they were still able to pull out a 37-18 win on the Railroaders home court behind a double-digit performance of junior Maddie Downing, who scored a game-high 21 points.
“Our whole thing coming into tonight was we really wanted to use our size,” said Tri-Village assistant coach Laden Delawder, who is serving as the acting head coach while Brad Gray sits out a two-game suspension. “I think we were bigger than them at almost every position and with that I thought Maddie Downing really played well. I think she kind of controlled the paint all night and when we got it to her good things happened.
“Now, I didn’t think we got it to her enough and a lot of that falls back on me,” he continued. “But I thought she played really well when we did get it to her. We have been challenging her to dominate the paint. With her size and strength and her physicality, I think she can do that nearly every game and I thought in the third quarter she really kind of took it over on both ends of the court. She was really keying on their big (Bianca Keener), who came in averaging 13 a game I think. She’s a really good player and I thought Maddie did a good job defensively on her.”
Keener ended up with just 5 points for the Railroaders, who lost for the first time this season. They are now 2-1 overall and 0-1 in the CCC.
“This was absolutely a good test for us,” Bradford coach Chris Besecker said. “Tri-Village has always been the cream of the crop in this conference. I can’t be displeased with our defense, I mean we held them to 37 points. I’m not sure the last time they were held below 40, but obviously we have things to work on.
“Defensively I thought we were OK,” he continued. “We just couldn’ty find the range. That was it. Our offense is a work in progress, but it isn’t like we weren’t getting shots. We had a lot of good, open looks tonight, we just couldn’t get the ball to go down. Their size was huge for them too. When you put two bigs out on the floor like they do we have a hard time with that. They got a lot of second and third shots at the basket because of it and that hurt us.”
Tri-Village used a strong first quarter to grab an early lead 14-7 with Downing scoring 8 of her points in the period. Bradford’s strangling defense slowed the Patriots in the second quarter, but the Railroaders continued their own offensive struggles and went into the break trailing by 10 points (22-12). The third quarter proved to be the deciding 8 minutes for the Patriots as they rolled to a 12-2 advantage in the frame increasing their lead to 18 points at 34-16.
Sophomore Skipp Miller led the Bradford offense with 8 points. Keener had 5 followed by Emma Canan with 3 and Rylee Canan with 2.
In addition to Maddie Downing’s 21, Lissa Siler nailed a pair of 3-pointers and a layup for 8 points. Meghan Downing hit 5 free throws for 5 points, Chloe Godown had 2 free throws for 2 points and Emma Printz sank one freebie for 1 point.
“We understand we have a lot we need to be better at, but with the adversity we’ve been facing with Trisa (Porter) being out with an injury and with coach being out now and coming off the heart-breaker against Versailles, I was really proud of the girls effort,” Delawder said. “(Bradford) is a good team and they are going to win a lot of games. They play super hard and defensively they really get after you.
“They were 2-0 for a reason and we were here at their place so to go on the road with all that we’re not going to be upset,” he continued. “But we understand we have a lot we need to be better at especially on the offensive end. But again some of that is credited to their good defense. Scoring just 37 points is not where we want to be, so we just have to be better and we have to value the basketball better.”
Both teams return to action next Thursday, Dec. 6 with Tri-Village hosting Franklin-Monroe and Bradford traveling to Ansonia.
Score by quarters
Tri-Village – Chloe Godown 0 2 2, Emma Printz 0 1 1, Meghan Downing 0 5 5, Lissa Siler 3 0 8, Maddie Downing 8 5 21. Totals: 11 13 37.
Bradford – Emma Canan 1 0 3, Rylee Canan 1 0 2, Skipp Miller 4 0 8, Bianca Keener 2 1 5. Totals: 8 1 18.
3-pointers: Tri-Village 2 (Siler 2); Bradford 1 (Emma Canan).
Records: Tri-Village (2-1, 1-0 CCC), Bradford (2-1, 0-1 CCC).
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.