BROOKVLLE – The final game of five Saturday afternoon in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IV girls basketball tournament at Brookville High School pitted the Bradford Lady Railroaders against the Lady Bulldogs of Yellow Springs.
The outcome was in doubt right up to the final buzzer when a length-of-the-court drive and a mid-range jump shot fell short for the Lady Roaders and they fell to Yellow Springs 42-40.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” Bradford coach Patrick McKee said. “This game was back and forth. Give a lot of credit to their coach and their team. They did a nice job battling all game with us.”
It was an amazing effort by the Lady Railroaders to be in this game after the way they started it. They did not score their first point until 6:17 into the game and managed just three free throws by senior Mandi Bates in the first quarter.
The first Bradford field goal was also by Bates but not until after nine minutes had come off the game clock. Thanks to a great defensive effort the Lady Roaders trailed just 12-6.
Yellow Springs would gain its largest lead of the day at 19-12 before Bradford would tie the game with just 16.4 seconds before the half at 20-all.
However, game-high scorer Liz Smith of the Lady Bulldogs would hit a driving layup before the horn sounded to give Yellow Springs the halftime lead, 22-20.
Chelsea Gill, who led Bradford in scoring, made a bucket about a minute into the second half to tie the game at 22. Nearly a moment later, Brooke Fair gave the Lady Roaders their first lead at 24-23 with a field goal. After two Smith free throws for Yellow Springs, Bates connected for a basket to give Bradford their final lead of the game at 26-25.
The Lady Bulldogs went on a 6-0 mini-run that propelled them to a 31-26 advantage, which allowed them to maintain the lead until the end of the period, 34-31.
Bradford never trailed by more than 3 in the final quarter. They could get no closer than 1 point, which they did four different times.
The key to the Lady Roaders staying in the game was the poor free throw shooting of Yellow Springs in the period. The Lady Bulldogs could convert only 4-of-16 from the line.
Bradford had two offensive possessions in the final 17.4 seconds but could not get the basket they so desperately desired.
“We asked the kids two things this week in practice this week,” Coach McKee said. “Continue to execute and give it all you have … The girls didn’t give up … I’m proud of the girls … We were able to put together a run to get back in it. Just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Lady Roader scoring leaders were Gill with 14 points, Bates with 12 and Fair with 8. Liz Smith paced the Lady Bulldogs with 23 points. Bradford was 8-of-15 from the free throw line while Yellow Springs was 13-of-32.
Bradford concluded its season with a record of 5-18.