By Rob Kiser
Call Sports Editor
BROOKVILLE — It only seemed fitting.
In a record breaking season, the Bradford girls basketball would take its next step into the history books in the most dramatic fashion.
Looking for its 20th win and first ever sectional title — the Bradford girls outlasted Southeastern in four overtimes for a 60-57 victory.
The Lady Railroaders and the “Sea of Orange” will now travel to Tippecanoe for a Division IV district title game against Fort Loramie at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“I think it is fitting to get it this way,” Brooke Dunlevy, who seemed to draw from an endless supply of big shots to score her 26 points said. “You just have to want it. This feels great.”
And while there were multiple Railroaders that stepped up in the clutch, it was Dunlevy who gave Bradford the lead for good with a drive to the basket with 1:20 remaining to give Bradford a 58-57 lead.
After a Southeastern miss, she grabbed the rebound and hit one of two free throws to make it 59-57 with 25.9 seconds left.
Southeastern missed two free throws at 9.7 second mark and Gabby Fair grabbed the rebound and was fouled.
She made one of two free throws with 8.8 seconds left to make it 60-57 and Southeastern missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, leading to large Bradford fan base to fill the floor with Orange in celebration and give the Railroaders another game.
“These kids have worked hard for this, it is fitting (a four overtime game),” Bradford coach Patrick McKee said.
For one half, it didn’t look like it would be necessary.
With Dunlevy scoring seven points in the second quarter, Bradford opened a 26-14 lead and a Fair free throws to start the second half made it 27-14.
But, Southeastern took Bradford out of its uptempo game that was so effective in the opening half.
Bradford didn’t make a second-half field goal until Fair scored off a Haley Patty dish with 3:53 remaining in regulation to tie it at 31 and it was a battle the rest of the way.
Bradford got the ball back and called timeout with 18.8 seconds left in regulation, trailing 37-35.
Dunlevy didn’t hesitate, driving the lane and scoring to force overtime.
In the first overtime, Dunlevy scored with 3:10 to go and Southeastern answered forcing a second overtime.
In the second overtime, Bree Bates scored off a Michayla Barga lob inside to give Bradford a 47-45 lead, but Libby Hudson answered to force a third overtime.
The Lady Railroaders had trailed much of the third overtime and were still down 53-51.
With 23.5 seconds left, Dunlevy launched her first three of the game and was perfect, giving Bradford a 54-53 lead.
“I just had a feeling on that shot,” Dunlevy said.
Southeastern’s Katie Entler hit one of two free throws with 5.5 seconds left to make it 54-54 and force overtime.
At this point, the Roaders were without guards Patty and Barga, who had both fouled out.
Freshman Mandi Bates hit two clutch free throws to start the overtime and Dunlevy took over down the stretch to give Bradford an amazing win.
“That’s the way ti has been all year,” McKee said. “We have confidence in all 12 girls.”
Fair added nine rebounds and eight points for the Lady Railroaders, while Bree Bates had seven points and seven rebounds and Barga scored seven points.
Lexie Perry had 19 points for Southeastern, while Libby Hudson added 15 points and six rebounds and Entler was good for 14 points and seven rebounds.
Bradford was 22 of 50 from the floor for 44 percent and 15 of 22 from the line for 68 percent.
Southeastern was 19 of 47 from the floor for 40 percent and 18 of 28 from the line for 64 percent.
Bradford won the battle of the boards 29-24 and both teams had 22 turnovers.
Lexie Perry 5-8-19, Katie Entler 6-2-14, Savannah Sullivan 1-3-5, Jessica Erwin 1-2-4, Julianna Erwin 0-0-0, Libby Hudson 6-3-15, Maddie McKee 0-0-0, Madison Heggy 0-0-0. Totals: 19-18-57.
Michayla Barga 3-1-7, Haley Patty 2-2-6, Gabby Fair 3-2-8, Brooke Dunlevy 9-7-26, Bree Bates 3-1-7, Brooke Bower 0-0-0, Mandi Bates 0-2-2, Sierra Broughman 2-0-4. Totals: 22-15-60.
3-point field goals — Southeastern: Perry. Bradford: Dunlevy.
Score By Quarters
Southeastern 7 14 22 37 39 47 54 57
Bradford 10 26 28 37 39 47 54 60
Records: Bradford 20-5, Southeastern 18-5