BRADFORD — Stingy defense helped the Bradford girls basketball team defeat Mississinawa Valley on Thursday when the Lady Railroaders weren’t having their best night offensively.
Bradford shot just 23 percent from the field on Thursday but held Mississinawa Valley to 27 percent while also forcing 32 turnovers in the Cross County Conference game.
“Offensively we did not look good at all. I don’t know what our shooting percentage was, but it wasn’t good at all,” Bradford girls basketball coach Patrick McKee said. “This night just goes to show how important defense is. We focused a lot on defense. We’ve always focused a lot on defense. Forcing 32 turnovers is going to get you places.”
Mississinawa Valley coach Bo Humphries also pointed to turnovers as a detriment to his team’s performance.
“It went the way we kind of scripted,” Humphries said. “We had a few turnovers there — well, we had more than a few turnovers — the turnovers killed us. We took care of the basketball; we did things that we wanted to do; we got decent shots. There was a stretch that we probably missed nine or 10 shots, which hurt. They’re playing better. So I’m satisfied.”
Bradford led for almost the entire game, taking a 13-8 lead in the opening quarter of play.
Both offenses struggled in the second quarter, combining for just 10 points, as the Lady Railroaders went into halftime up 19-12.
Mississinawa Valley began to play better in the second half and cut the Bradford lead to three points, 24-21, by the end of the third quarter.
“The biggest key for us is that we slowed it down, and by slowing it down, I think it took some of the air out of them,” Humphries said. “And that’s what gave us an advantage. It was working well. We just couldn’t get a few more things to fall or else we would have had the win.”
With 5:34 left in the fourth quarter, Mississinawa tied the game at 26-26.
Bradford wasn’t getting good looks, McKee said, which allowed MV to get back into the game.
“We kind of settled for one pass and take a shot there for awhile, and that’s not what got us to the place we were in the first half,” he said. “We did a real nice job of moving the ball in the first half so I told the girls slow down and let’s get some good looks on offense, move the ball in and out, get our post involved, and let’s force them to play a little defense.”
In the final five-plus minutes of the game Bradford got its offense clicking better and continued to pressure Mississinawa and forced Lady Hawk mistakes.
“After we tied it up, we turned the ball over four times,” Humphries said. “And when you do that it’s awful hard.”
In the end, Bradford scored 10 of the final 12 points and held on for the 36-28 win.
Bree Bates led Bradford with a game-high 12 points. Also for the Railroaders, Haley Patty scored nine points, Michayla Barga scored six, Brooke Dunlevy scored five, Mandi Bates scored two, and Brooke Brower scored two.
Nicole Scholl led Mississinawa Valley with 10 points in the loss. Also for the Blackhawks, Mackenzie Dirmeyer scored six points, Logan Nelson scored six, Heather Dirksen scored four, and Heather Johns added two.