By Rob Kiser
When second seed Russia defeated Bradford 69-32 in the Piqua D-IV sectional tournament opener, first-year Raiders coach Spencer Cordonnier got what he wanted in what he hopes will be a long tournament run.
Bradford coach Mackenzie Perry hopes it will be the start of something big as well.
The Raiders, 20-3, advance to play Lehman Catholic at 6 p.m. Tuesday in second-round action.
“Playing at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday night — it wasn’t the time we wanted, but it was the slot we wanted (on the bracket),” Cordonnier said. “It took us a little while to get going.”
Perry, whose team finished 2-21, saw a lot of positives throughout the season and hopes there is a different feeling with his team than previous years.
“We are trying to change the culture here,” Perry said. “That is one thing we talked about. In the past kids would just go and get ready for baseball and track. We want them to go out and put the work in during the summer. This year, we were a feel good story — next year we can be THE story.”
To the Railroaders credit, they found themselves trailing just 10-6 after two Andy Branson free throws late in the first quarter.
“We are playing against a zone and it took us a little while to get going,” Cordonnier said.
But, Russia opened the lead to 32-18 at halftime and stretched it to 52-24 after three quarters.
“They are an athletic team,” Perry said. “If you give them an open shot, they are going to hit it. Number 50 (Jack Dapore) hit two threes from the wing. They get an offensive rebound, they are going to score. That is the sign of a good team.”
Cordonnier thought his team got better as the game went on.
“I thought we really came out and picked it up after halftime,” Cordonnier said. “We started shooting the ball better. But, we are not going to win with our offense — we are going to go as far as our defense will take us.”
Josh York led the Raiders with 13 points.
Cole Tebbe had 12 points and seven rebounds and Dapore added 10 points.
Brandon led Bradford with 11 points and Alex Swabb added 10.
Russia was 26 of 40 from the floor and 13 of 18 from the line, while Bradford was 11 of 34 from the floor and eight of nine from the line.
Russia won the battle of the boards 21-10 and had 10 turnovers to Bradford’s 19.
It was the final game for Bradford senior Drew Patty.
“He was the first guy to believe in me,” Perry said. “He was our leader. There is only one Drew (Patty). I am going to miss that big guy.”
As for the season. Perry had a message for his kids.
“It is not the end of this season,” Perry said. “It is the start of next year.”
While Russia hopes to keep this season going well into March.
Dialaquan Millhouse 0-0-0, Andy Branson 3-5-11, Alex Swabb 3-3-10, Drew Patty 3-0-6, Josh Phillips 0-0-0, Walker Branson 2-0-5, Parker Smith 0-0-0, Mason Justice 0-0-0. Totals: 11-8-32.
Trevor Monnin 1-2-4, Dylan Cordonnier 2-0-4, Jake Gariety 1-0-2, Cole Tebbe 6-0-12, Josh York 6-1-13, Jack Dapore 3-2-10, Jonah Counts 1-4-7, Clay Borchers 2-0-4, Caleb Ball 2-1-5, Connor Monnin 1-0-3, Lukas Busse 0-3-3, Drew Poling 0-0-0, Drew Sherman 0-0-0, Sam Cook 1-0-2, Ethan Monnier 0-0-0. Totals: 26-13-69.
3-point field goals — Bradford: Swabb, Walker Branson. Russia: Dapore (2), Counts, Connor Monnin.
Score By Quarters
Bradford 6 18 24 32
Russia 14 32 52 69
Records: Bradford 2-21, Russia 20-3.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.