BROOKVILLE – The Lady Railroaders were on track offensively on Wednesday night as they opened their Division IV sectional tournament with a resounding 65-29 win over Yellow Springs at Brookville.
Bradford, the No. 6 seed in the sectional, rained down 3-pointers throughout the first half sinking nine total in the first 16 minutes to build a 42-12 lead at halftime. In fact, the first three shots that went through the net were all triples for the Railroaders causing Yellow Springs to call timeout with 5:05 left in the first quarter.
Freshman Austy Miller drained the first trey of the game at 7:41. After a Yellow Springs bucket, Rylee Canan got into the act with a triple to from the top of the key go up 6-2. After another Yellow Springs hoop, Miller connected on her second triple of the game at 5:05 for a 9-4 Bradford lead. After the Bulldogs’ timeout, the Railroaders closed out the quarter on a 15-2 run that included two more treys, one by Cassi Mead and the other by Abby Gade to go up 24-6.
It was more of the same in the second quarter as the Railroaders scored 18 more points while holding the Bulldogs to 6 for the second straight period. But instead of Miller leading the charge like she did with 9 points in the first period, Mead was the point manufacturer with 5 in the second frame.
“Austy lit them up early,” Bradford coach Chris Besecker said of his freshman phenom. “Of course then they go box and 1 which we have seen several times this year, but the other kids stepped up and knocked down shots which is what we have to do to beat these defenses.”
The tournament victory was the first for the Lady Railroaders program since 2014, according to Besecker.
“It was our first tournament win since 2014, so it felt good to get another sectional tournament win,” Besecker said recalling the 2014 tournament win was a quadruple overtime thriller against Southeastern also at the Brookville sectional.
The third quarter was less impressive for Bradford only scoring 8 points to Yellow Springs’ 9 points, but the game was essentially already in hand by that point. The Railroaders were re-energized in the fourth quarter with seven different players finding the scoring column to finish off the late-night victory.
Miller led the way with 13 points followed by Mead with 11 as the only two BHS players to reach double figures. The Bulldogs were led by Angie Smith with a game-high 16 points.
“Our focus defensively was stopping the Smith girl so we were doubling her up at half court trying to make her give it up early,” Besecker said. “It gave them some other opportunities, but we felt like we couldn’t let the Smith girl beat us. She is not afraid to shoot from anywhere. I have seen her stats and there were some games where she shot over 50 shots so you know she is going to have the ball in her hands a lot.”
Nine players total scored in the game for Bradford. Gade, Bianca Keener and Rylee Canan contributing 8 points apiece followed by Emma Canan with 7, Abby Fike with 6 and Kendall Hill and Karissa Weldy with 2 each.
“Cassi shot the ball well for us,” Besecker said. “Austy got in foul trouble in the first half and then got another quick one in the third quarter, but again our other kids stepped up. I thought both Abby Gade and Abby Fike came off the bench and played well too. Austy just plays so hard for us at both ends of the floor so she is going to run into some fouls sometimes.
“I felt like a weak area for us was rebounding tonight,” he continued. “I think we gave up too many second shots on the defensive end especially in the first half, but I felt like we did a little better in the second half. It is an area we need to improve, but no time to rest on our laurels as we close out our regular season tomorrow night at Riverside. Hopefully we will play better at both ends of the floor there.”
Bradford’s next tournament game will be at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19 against Springfield Catholic Central in the sectional semifinals at Brookville. Catholic Central beat East Dayton Christian in an earlier game on Wednesday.
“What is impressive about Catholic Central is how they transition offensively,” Besecker said. “They fly down the floor. There big post player really gets down the court in a hurry and if they get it to her it is almost a given they can score, so transition defense will be a big key for us. We will have to get back on defense to be successful.”
Score by quarters
Bradford – Abby Gade 3 0 8, Kendall Hill 1 0 2, Austy Miller 4 2 13, Emma Canan 2 2 7, Abby Fike 3 0 6, Rylee Canan 2 2 8, Karissa Weldy 1 0 2, Cassi Mead 4 1 11, Bianca Keener 3 2 8. Totals: 23 9 65.
Yellow Springs – Aaliyah Longshaw 2 0 5, Haneefah Jones 3 0 6, Angie Smith 8 0 16, Tyler Linkhart 1 0 2. Totals: 14 0 29.
3-pointers – Bradford 10 (Miller 3, Gade 2, Mead 2, R. Canan 2, E. Canan 1), Yellow Springs 1 (Longshaw 1).
Records: Bradford (16-6), Yellow Springs (11-12).
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.