BRADFORD – The coaches from both Bradford and Franklin Monroe pointed to defense as a key component of Thursday night’s girls basketball game between the schools.
Franklin Monroe coach Gavin Spitler was impressed by his team’s defensive effort. Bradford coach Patrick McKee was not impressed with his team’s defense.
The Lady Jets’ strong defense coupled with the Lady Railroaders’ defensive struggles helped Franklin Monroe beat Bradford 49-31 Thursday night in Cross County Conference action.
“We played very selfish individual defense tonight, which obviously didn’t turn out good for us,” McKee said.
Neither team was able to get much offensive output in the first quarter. Claire Neiswander and Haley Gray put up 10 points for Franklin Monroe while Haley Patty and Brooke Dunlevy put up six for Bradford to give the Jets a 10-6 first-quarter lead.
In the second quarter, Franklin Monroe started attacking the rim more. The result was 16 points in the period for the Jets, all of which came in the paint or from the free throw line.
Early in the season Franklin Monroe had done a good job of attacking the rim but in recent games started shooting more from the outside, Spitler said. Thursday they were able to overcome a poor shooting game with smart offense and inside points, he said.
“The girls attacked,” he said. “They didn’t settle.”
McKee said he told his players that the Jets like to cut to the rim, but they didn’t stay in front of them to prevent it.
“That’s just something we didn’t do tonight,” he said. “We let them cut kind of wherever they wanted to and a lot of times that was right down the middle, and they got those easy layups.”
Meanwhile, Bradford’s offense couldn’t get going as it fell behind 26-10 by halftime. The Railroaders were limited to a pair of free throws by Patty and one basket from Dunlevy in the second quarter.
“I think we had some good looks,” McKee said. “For the whole night, like you said, shots weren’t falling. Maybe some bad shots here and there but for the most part they just weren’t falling. Just one of those nights.”
From the Franklin Monroe bench, Spitler was glad to see that the Jets prevented Bradford from scoring inside and instead forced the Railroaders to attempt jump shots.
“If we can play good solid defense, we can hang in any game even when our offense isn’t clicking,” he said, saying the Jets had good team effort on defense Thursday. “And honestly tonight our offense really wasn’t clicking.”
Entering the second half with a 16-point lead, Franklin Monroe was able to build a 40-21 advantage in the third quarter. The Jets then closed out the win the fourth quarter, defeating the Railroaders 49-31.
Franklin Monroe’s Neiswander led all scorers with 17 points in the game. Also for the Jets, Gray scored 13, Taylor Robins scored 10, and Allison Snider scored nine. Spitler also praised Snider for her rebounding Thursday night.
Patty led Bradford with 16 points on the night. Also for the Railroaders, Dunlevy scored five, Brittany Ross scored four, Michayla Barga scored three, Bree Bates scored two, and Brooke Brower added one.