FORT LORAMIE —Sometimes in big games, you have to find points from the unlikeliest of sources.
In a defensive battle between Troy Christian and Bradford in a D-IV district semifinal at Fort Loramie High School, that was even more the Monday night.
In the end, Bradford was able to do that — while the Eagles struggled to score at all in the second half — in Bradford’s 44-32 victory.
Bradford, 20-5, will play Legacy Christian on Saturday at Troy’s Trojan Activity Center.
“The only other time we have been in the district finals is 2014,” Bradford coach Chris Besecker. “I thought we did a great job on defense tonight. Troy Christian makes it tough for you to score, so you better be able to stop them.”
Troy Christian closed the season at 12-7.
“We worked very hard this year and had a strong second-half of the season,” Troy Christian coach Tony Ferraro said. “But, we really struggled to score in the third quarter tonight. You have to put the ball in the basket.”
The game started out well for Troy Christian.
Morgan Taylor scored the games first four points — then had an assist as Sarah Johnson scored four points and the Eagles led 8-1.
But, by halftime, thanks to those unlikely sources, Bradford was in front 24-22.
Abby Fike had a 3-pointer in the opening quarter.
Then after Erin Schenk hit a 3-pointer to five the Eagles a 16-12 lead in the second quarter, Fike answered with a four-point play to tie it at 16.
“I was so excited when I did that,” Fike said. “It was kind of mind blowing. I knew I had to do it for the team. I can do that (get hot from the 3-point line) in practice. It never seems to happen in games.”
Then after Troy Christian had opened a 20-16 lead, it was sophomore post Remi Harleman’s turn.
On consecutive possessions, she hit her first two 3-pointers of the season.
The first cut the deficit to 20-19, the second tied the game at 22.
“I work on them in practice,” Harleman said. “I guess I was just feeling it. I came out and Johnson (Sarah Johnson) stayed in, so I figured I would shoot it. I had to smile after I tied the game.”
Austy Miller, who was limited to one field goal in the first half, hit two free throws to put Bradford up 24-22 at the break.
“To be able to come back and get the lead at half was huge,” Besecker said. “Abby (Fike) just played a whale of game for us tonight. Remi (Harleman) has worked on those shots in practice.”
Ferraro gave Bradford the credit.
“I don’t think those two girls have made a lot of those shots during the season,” he said. “Let’s give Bradford credit.”
The second half was about defense.
While Bradford scored just five points in the third quarter, Troy Christian had just one to make it 29-24.
With 3:15 to go in the game, the Eagles had just three points for the half and no field goals.
“You have to find a way to score,” Ferraro said.
At the same time, Miller’s leadership allowed Bradford to pull away.
She was a perfect 6-for-6 from the line in the fourth quarter and finished with 11 points in the second half.
Bradford was 10-for-12 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“That’s more like it,” Besecker said.
Miller had 16 points and five rebounds to lead Bradford.
Harleman had 11 points and eight rebounds and Fike also added 11 points.
Johnson led Troy Christian with nine points and 12 rebounds.
Morgan Taylor had six points and Sydney Taylor grabbed six rebounds.
Bradford was 11 of 40 from the floor for 28 percent and 16 of 20 from the floor for 80 percent.
Troy Christian was 11 of 40 from the floor for 28 percent and nine of 16 from the line for 56percent.
The Eagles won the battle of the boards 27-22 and both teams had 11 turnovers.
Now, Bradford has a chance to win it’s first district title in the sport — but, it won’t be easy.
Legacy Christian, 20-3, defeated Bradford 54-37 during the season.
“The Hess girl (Emma Hess) is out of this world,” Besecker said. “I know we are going to have to play a lot better than we did the first time.”
And a shutdown defense and unlikely heroes would be a great formula for more success.
Contact Rob Kiser at email@example.com