BRADFORD – The dynamic duo of Bradford freshman Austy Miller and senior Bianca Keener were double trouble Thursday night for the Brookville Blue Devils under energetic Braden Kindell. The Lady Devils were thirsty for a win with a 2-13 record and ready to end the drought against the speedy Railroaders of Chris Besecker, but the Lady Roaders were up to the task and then some in dismantling the Devils by the tune of 47-26 in front of about 200 fans at the fabled orange and black gymnasium.
The Railroaders’ victory improves them to 12-4 while remaining 5-3 in the always tough Cross County Conference. Brookville was led by freshman Malerie Ross, who had no points in the first half but exploded for 11 in the second to keep things somewhat close. Austy Miller showed all it was Miller time again with 23 points for Bradford. She was followed by the inside power of senior sidekick Bianca Keener with a baker’s dozen of 13. The tandem’s combined 36 points were 77 percent of the team’s total offensive output as no other player could get above three markers for the game.
The first quarter showed the Railroaders pressing the Devils right from the get go as they got after it on both ends of the court. They hit the first bucket at the 7 minute mark and didn’t stop until the one minute mark as they rattled off 15 unanswered points until Abby Edds buried a three at the buzzer much to the Devils’ fans delight. Brookville only had Edds’ 3 while Bradford was led by Miller’s 9 who hit a three, a two and four perfect free throws much to Coach Chris Besecker’s pleasure.
The second quarter was more of the same as the pep band kept playing and the Roaders kept on scoring despite the defensive efforts of the blue and white from the SWBL. The Roaders doubled their pleasure point wise with another 15 to hit the 30-point mark. Miller and Keener both hit for 4 points apiece followed by Rylee Canan’s 3. Brookville tripled its point production from the first by going from 3 to 9 points in its eight minutes of action. The Blue Devils were led by senior Hannah Smart, who used several smart moves to get to the bucket and put in all of her points for the game with 4. The Railroaders had the orange and black crush going on as they to a 21-point lead at intermission.
The Kindell coaching duo of son Braden and father Dave lit a torch under the Devils attack as they unleashed 6-foot freshman Ross, who hit for 10 of her 11 points in the third frame as the Blue Devils outscored the Railroaders 11-8 in this eight minutes of action. The Railroaders were once again led by the steady hand of Miller, who once again was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line plus a deuce for 6 of the team’s 8 points. Keener added a much needed bucket at the end of the period for the other two points.
Defensive clamps were put on by both squads as neither team could hit for double digits in the final quarter. Brookville could only hit for half a dozen in this frame with the game long being decided thanks to the incredible first half by the Roaders of Darke County. Brookville’s scoring load was carried by Jessica Brown and Abby Cousineau, who had a bucket apiece. Bradford just missed out on hitting double digits as they cascaded in 9 to give them a finishing total of 47. Miller had another 4 with two fine driving layups and was aided by none other than faithful sidekick Keener with 3. The never say die Devils and Railroaders both scored 17 for the second half as Brookville almost tripled its scoring from the first half, going from 9 and ending up with 26.
”It was definitely a tale of two halves because in the first half our offense and defense were clicking together, and in the second our defense took us home,” Besecker said. “Brookville came out and took it to us in the second half and we were able to respond with Miller and Keener. Keener will need to be big without Skipp being in there on the inside as she is gone for the season.
“We didn’t shoot well at the line,” he continued. “We were up and down as we made six straight and then we would miss five straight. Next Thursday will tell us a lot as we play Franklin-Monroe at home as we need to get better quickly.”
Scoring for Brookville – Smart 4, Ross 11, Brown 2, Cousineau 3, Allie Lamb 2, Emily Mason 1 and Edds 3 for 26 points. One triple, 10 regulars and three freebies out of 10 for 30 percent.
Scoring for Bradford – Abby Gade 2, Miller 23, Emma Canan 1, Rylee Canan 3, Karissa Weldy 3, Cassi Mead 2 and Keener 13 for 47 points. One triple, 14 regulars and 16 out of 23 freebies for 70 percent.