TIPP CITY — The Bradford Lady Railroaders faced a monumental task in their quest for a Division IV district championship against the 2013 state champion Fort Loramie Lady Redskins with a 2014 repeat in sight.
“The girls came out and they worked hard,” Bradford varsity girls basketball coach Patrick McKee said. “That’s the reason why we are here. It’s not like anything special happened.”
The Redskins jumped out to a 2-0 lead with no time off the clock as the game clock was late winding down.
Senior Brooke Dunlevy evened the score at 2-2 with 7:00 showing.
A Loramie trey and bucket had the Redskins up 7-2, bringing a timeout from the Bradford bench.
Dunlevy made it 7-4 with a layup off a Michayla Barga assist followed with Loramie hitting 3-of-4 at the line for a 10-4 lead.
A Dunlevy bucket and two Loramie free throws had the Redskins up 12-6 with 3:40 on the first period clock.
Bradford had the Redskins’ lead down to one at 15-14 with 0:48 with back-to-back Haley Patty free throws, back-to-back Dunlevy baskets and a stick-back from 5-foot 10-inch sophomore Mackenzie Weldy.
A Redskins 3-pointer was followed with a Dunlevy bucket for an 18-16 Loramie lead going to second period play.
The second quarter belonged to the Fort Loramie with seven Redskins putting 33 points on the board while holding the Lady Railroaders to five points to lead 51-21 at the break.
Bradford kept pace with the Redskins in period No. 3 with five Dunlevy points, four points from 5-foot 9-inch freshman Mandi Bates and two points each from Gabby Fair, Bree Bates and Patty for a 69-36 score going to the final period of play.
Senior Ciara Broughman led the Railroaders with five fourth quarter points including a trey followed with four Dunlevy points and a Bree Bates bucket for a final 82-47 Lady Redskins win.
“We don’t have the one girl that’s going to go and light up the court every night,” McKee said. “They really came together and played as a whole.
“We talk about who our leading scorer was, but now we have to talk about who got her the ball, who played defense, who was our leader on the court and things like that,” McKee added. “That’s where the whole team comes into play.”
Bradford’s Dunlevy lead all scorers in the contest with 21 points.
“(Brooke) Dunlevy really came on at the end of the year,” McKee said. “She has that kind of potential in her.”
Five Lady Railroaders, No. 4 Michayla Barga, No. 10 Haley Patty, No. 14 Ciara Broughman, No. 22 Brooke Dunlevy and No. 32 Bree Bates suited up for the final time in a 20-win, record-setting season for a Bradford team that proved hard work and discipline does pay big dividends.
“We’re going to miss those five,” McKee said. “We just told the girls the amount of hard work that they have put into this program over the last nine months, that’s why we are here.
“I continue to tell them that if you are willing to put this kind of hard work into anything you do you will have these types of results,” McKee added. “We really want the girls to do whatever they are doing in life, just work hard to do the right thing, to be smart, to work together. Things like that, that we worked a lot on this year … just life lessons.
“If the girls are willing to put in the hard work like these five seniors did, and they were our leaders, we’ll just continue to put in the hard work. We’ll have new leaders next year,” McKee said. “We have set this bar where it is at. We can only go up from there.”
Score by quarters: 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Bradford 16 5 15 11 47
Fort Loramie 18 33 18 13 82
Bradford scoring: B. Dunlevy 21, H. Patty 6, B. Bates 6, C. Broughman 5, M. Bates 4, G. Fair 3, M. Weldy 2