BRADFORD — Bradford girls basketball coach Patrick McKee has been at opposite ends of the spectrum the last two seasons.
Two years ago he led Bradford to its first district final appearance and first sectional title, setting a school record for wins.
Last season, with a much less experienced team, the Lady Railroaders finished 6-17.
McKee is hopeful this season will be closer to the season from two years ago.
“We talk a lot about comparing and contrasting the two seasons,” McKee said. “Not so much the wins and losses — but which season did they enjoy more and feel better about.”
While the Lady Railroaders lost Gabby Fair and Brooke Fair to graduation, they also return plenty of experience this season.
That includes two seniors in 5-2 guard Kelly Moore and 5-10 post Mackenzie Weldy.
The juniors are 5-9 Mandi Bates, 5-10 Ally Booker, 5-7 Haley Rosengarten and 5-5 Olivia Hart.
The sophomores include 5-1 guards Chelsea Gill and Hannah Fout, as well as 5-6 forwards Bailey Wysong and Ivee Brubaker.
Rounding out the roster is 5-11 freshman Bianca Keener.
Moore, Weldy and Bates were all a part of the team from two years ago, but McKee said that doesn’t lead him to expect more from them.
“Those three were on that team and Liv (Hart) has really come on since,” he said. “But, we do want to put pressure or expectations on anyone. We are more focused on doing the things we need to do to be successful.”
Size won’t be an issue with the likes of Weldy, Bates, Booker and Keener.
“Bianca (Keener) is still a little raw,” he said. “We feel like we are solid (both inside and at the guards). The thing we want to focus on is rebounding, free throws, being fundamentally sound. Those kind of things.”
And he won’t pigeon hole his team into a specific style of play.
“We feel like we can slow the tempo or play uptempo,” he said. “I think this team can be successful doing either one. We are going to do whatever we need to do on that particular night to win the game.”
McKee sees the CCC as being strong as ever.
“I think Tri-Village is going to be really good again,” he said. “Newton and Arcanum have a lot of talented kids back. Bruce (Vanover) really did a nice job with Miami East last year in his first year. There are a lot of coaches in the league that are doing some really good things.”
And when it is all said and done, McKee hopes Bradford will be right in there as well — with a season that resembles two years ago much more than last year.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor of the Daily Call. He can be reached at 937-451-3334.