BRADFORD — A strong Lady Railroader defense made up for a cold shooting night from the field to repeat as Holiday Tournament Champions in a heart stopping last second comeback win over the Carlisle Lady Indians.
“I keep telling these girls, you are going to have off nights offensively but defense can always be there every night,” said Bradford varsity girls coach Patrick McKee. “We wanted to make a statement tonight that we are a pretty good defensive team when we want to be.”
Unable to consistently get baskets to fall in the contest, the Lady Railroaders trailed Carlise 34-32 with 0:10 on the game clock when 5-8 senior guard Bree Bates got all net knocking down a three pointer from the wing to give the Railroaders a 35-34 lead.
Brooke Brower hit the front end of a one and one at 0:03 to seal the 36-34 Lady Railroaders championship victory.
Barga got the games first points hitting a trey at 6:12 in the first quarter and a Railroaders 3-0 lead.
The Lady Indians answered with an 8-0 run to lead 8-3 at the 2:16 mark. A Brooke Brower free throw brought the first quarter to an end with Carlisle doubling the offensive output over Bradford to lead 8-4.
Bradford quickly fell behind 11-4 with an opening second quarter Carlisle trey.
The Railroaders reversed the game’s scoring output the balance of second quarter play outscoring the Indians 11-4.
“That’s been a struggle all year (scoring in the paint),” said McKee. “The girls know it and we continue to harp on it. We had 20-shots that we missed inside the paint.”
Brooke Dunlevy tossed in six-second quarter points as the teams headed to the halftime break with the score knotted a 15-15.
Carlisle jumped out to a 20-15 lead in the first minute and half of the third period.
A smothering Bradford defense shutout Carlisle over the next four minutes as the Lady Railroaders hit for eight unanswered points to lead 23-20 at 1:50 in the period.
Haley Patty got her fourth point of the third period at 0:32 giving Bradford a 25-22 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
Bradford maintained a three-point lead at 28-25 at the 6:45 point in the game.
A 6-0 Carlisle run had Bradford trailing 31-28 at 4:34 as shots continued to miss the mark for the Lady Railroaders.
With 3:08 on the game clock, a Patty free throw and a full court game tying lay up from Barga had the score knotted at 31-31.
“That’s a team effort with balanced scoring and no player scoring in double figures tonight,” stated McKee. “It just shows that a lot of our girls can do good things in different ways. We have a couple girls who are shooters, we have couple of girls who crash boards to get their points and a couple girls who are slashers. We have a lot of different ways to get points on this team.”
Unable to find the bucket, Bradford trailed 31-34 with 0:20 on the game clock.
Bradford freshman Mandi Bates hit the front end of a one and one cutting the Carlisle lead to 34-32 with the Lady Indians in possession of the ball.
Bradford’s defense took advantage of a Carlisle timeout with 0:17 forcing the Lady Indians to step on the out-of-bounds line on the inbound pass setting up the “shot” by Bates for the Lady Railroaders come-from-behind win.
“It is really nice to have our own home tournament and be able to be the champions,” McKee said. “That is huge for us. What is really more impressive for us, we are 8-3 this year where as last we were 3-8 so we are excited about that.”
The Lady Railroaders advanced to the championship game defeating the Riverside Lady Pirates 56-34 in first round tournament action.
Bradford took a 12-7 first quarter lead with Brooke Dunlevy and Bree Bates each contributing four points.
The Lady Railroaders put 15-second quarter points on the board while holding the Pirates to eight points taking a double digit lead to the halftime break leading 27-15.
Bradford had a one point third quarter scoring edge at 15-16 to lead 43-30 heading into the final quarter of play.
Michayla Barga hit for six third quarter points followed with Bree Bates knocking down four.
The Lady Pirates cut the score to 43-32 to open fourth quarter play at the 6:53 mark.
Bradford used a 13-0 scoring run lead with five Haley Patty points and Brooke Brower adding four points to lead 56-32 with 1:40 on the game clock.
The Railroaders’ Brooke Dunlevy’s 12-points led all scorers in the game with Bradford advancing with a 56-34 win.