BRADFORD – The Bradford Lady Railroaders continue to surprise teams this season as they let their defense do the talking in stopping Houston last Saturday afternoon, 56-40.
New head coach Chris Besecker has his team at an impressive 8-3 overall and 3-3 in the always competitive Cross County Conference at the midway point of the season. The Houston Wildcats, who were turned into “mildcats” by the stifling defense of the young and energetic Railroaders, fall to 4-8 and still remain at 2-2 in the always tough and physical Shelby County League.
In a league of her own was freshman fireplug Austy Miller, who at 5-foot tall stood above the Wildcats by putting in 24 points
out of the team’s 56 point total. Miller’s double dozen was almost matched by senior post master Jess Monnier, who was on the money for Houston with 16 points. This point machine almost matched half the total the Wildcats entire squad had for the game. Interestingly enough the Wildcats and Railroaders had no other person in double figures for their respective squads in the half filled orange and black gymnasium.
The first quarter was a game of runs with the Railroaders having the last and most significant one to end the quarter. The Lady Wildcats came out clawing and were trying to steamroll the Lady Railroaders out of their own village with a quick 5-0 Monnier scoring feast at the 4:31 mark. Skipp Miller made her presence felt as part of the Miller contingent and hit the first bucket for Bradford at the 3:40 spot to make it a 5-2 affair. It was lights out for the rest of the quarter for the Wildcats as the Badford defense reigned supreme by shutting them out. Miller and Miller along with Abby Gade scored 12 straight on the Houston squad to make the score a seven point advantage at 12-5 after one.
The second quarter saw an up and down eight minutes of action as Houston had its best scoring outburst of the game with 15, while Bradford almost matched it with 11 in their lowest scoring frame. Bradford and Houston got the roles reversed in this canto as Bradford opened it’s biggest lead of the game at 23-13 at the three minute mark. Lo and behold it was Houston’s turn to finish up this canto strong with a seven point outburst that had the Wildcat fans from Shelby County bursting with pride. Houston was led in this frame by Monnier again with 5 from inside the paint. From outside the paint they had Hollie Voisard and Addie White adding a triple. Austy Miller kept the Roaders lead in tact by tacking on 8 points for her grand total of 12 at half. Gade made her presence felt once again as she had a three to help cement their 3-point lead as only two Roaders scored in this eight minutes of action.
Third quarter theatrics saw the Roaders take their offense into full throttle as they amassed 18 points in 8 minutes of action to help break open a three point advantage they possessed after 16 minutes of action. Houston did manage to hit double digits plus to keep within striking distance at 41-31. Striking the scoring chords was none other than never say die workhorse Monnier, who wrangled in five. White added a three to account for the majority of Wildcat point production. There was some sadness in the quarter as 5-7 sophomore all-sport athlete and Ohio University softball signee Skipp Miller was injured going in for a layup with 2:12 left to go in the frame. The Railroaders rallied for Miller and increased the lead with Austy Miller showing it was Miller time with eight more big points followed by Skipp’s replacement Cassi Mead hitting for four.
The fourth quarter was for all the marbles as a 10-point lead is nice to have but it can vanquish as quick as the warm outside weather. The Wildcats did make a mild run to cut it to 45-36 with 5:35 remaining to go in the game. The Railroaders responded and then some with shut down defense and opportunistic offense to deflate the Wildcats by scoring 9 out of the next 10 points for a 54-37 advantage with 1:09 left. Houston had too many problems with Railroader arsenal and went down to its eighth defeat while Bradford enjoyed its eighth win. Voisard led Houston with 5, while lone senior Bianca Keener popped in 7 for Bradford.
”It was a good win for us against a tough, physical team from the Shelby County League where every game is a war. We got some things to go early for us with our 12-0 run in the first. Our bench needs to step up now as we don’t know how long Skipp is going to be out. We must avoid mental mistakes and need our defense to step up each and every night out as we prepare for Tri-County North this Thursday,” Besecker commented.
Scoring for Houston – Amber Stangel 4, White 6, Mariah Booher 3, Voisard 9, Monnier 16, Riesenbeck 2 for 40 points. 5 triples, 8 regulars, and 9 free throws out of 13 for 69 percent.
Scoring for Bradford – Gade 5, Austy Miller 24, Emma Canan 6, Skipp Miller 6, Mead 6, Keener 9 for 56 points. 4 triples, 17 regulars and 10 free throws out of 16 for 63 percent.