the bistro off broadway
Franklin Monroe sophomore Tara Goubeaux fights through defense provided by
Bradford freshman Bianca Keener (40) Thursday at Franklin Monroe. Bradford
won the Cross County Conference game, 51-40. CNO Photos by Dylan Knoop
Lady Roaders prevail over Franklin Monroe
By George Starks

PITSBURG - The Bradford Lady Railroaders went to 5-9 on the season (3-5 in conference play) Thursday with a 51-40 victory over Franklin Monroe.

Heading into the break, Bradford was well in control, holding a 31-16 lead.

The second half was a different story as the Jets won both quarters, 14-11 and 10-9.

“The first half, we were extremely happy,” said Roaders coach Patrick McKee. “We had a few mistakes, but what team can say they played a perfect half or a perfect game of basketball.”

Led by junior Mandi Bates with 23 points and senior Mackenzie Weldy with 15, the Roaders led from start to finish, taking a 16-8 lead at the first break.

“We made a few adjustments at halftime,” said McKee. “The kids laid it all out tonight and that was obviously huge. They gave us the effort and we talked in the locker room about the efforts being there. Now, we have to make a few minor adjustments.”

It looked as if the Roaders were going to run away with things in the second frame, but after 16 minutes of play, it was a fired-up Jets team that was not about to roll over.

Out-numbered but not out-classed or out-played, FM came out of the locker room ready to give the Roaders a game, but it takes 32 minutes of hustle and teamwork to win in basketball.

Something the Jets did not put together.

“I told the kids you can’t play just two quarters of basketball and expect to win,” said Jets coach Abbey Moore. “I tried to get that spark in the first half by switching some things up and nothing was really getting them going. I try to build their confidence up as much as I can, and that is what these girls need. Tonight, they just didn’t come out with it and we got ourselves in too big of a hole. I was proud of the way we finished, but I keep telling them, you can’t play just two quarters, you have to play four. ”

With only seven players dressing for the Jets varsity, the Roaders were able to take advantage of full bench and fresh legs to wear the Jets down on both ends of the floor.

Prone to the turnover bug, Franklin Monroe fell victim to the Roaders in the game as the Bradford defense was well in control.

“We have to make a few adjustments offensively and defensively to get this thing on the right track,” admitted McKee.

If McKee wanted positives to build on, he had a couple.

First was rebounds off the offensive glass.

Bradford pulled down nine offensive boards and getting 14 points off put backs.

The Roaders also hit nine of 15 shots from the charity stripe.

Not bad, but enough to make a difference in the end.

“We talked to the kids about this,” McKee stated. “With Ally Booker out, we talked with our two big girls, Mackenzie Weldy and freshman Bianca Keener about this. We told them they are very strong kids to be strong. Mandi Bates and Olivia Hart can help us out down there. We focus a lot in practice on foul shooting as well. I’ll be honest, I feel tonight is the first night we really put things together.”

With rebounds working well for the Jets, it was just the opposite for them from the foul line.

Franklin Monroe won the battle of the boards, 26-25 but failed miserably from the line.

Shooting a lackluster 14 of 28 (50 percent), the Jets could have made a difference in the outcome by just hitting foul shots, and Moore knows all too well the importance of making foul shots as well as protecting the ball (24 turnovers).

“That has been uncharacteristic of us these last few games,” said Moore. “Give Bradford all the credit. They came out and pressured our guards, and our guards have been doing well against some good competition. Foul shooting hurt us big tonight with the missed free throws. You have to take advantage of that. You must score when the clock is not running, especially when you’re trying to get back into a game. Trying to make that big of a comeback won’t work if you don’t put them in from the stripe.”

With the loss, FM dropped to 2-12 on the year.

See more photos at Empowering Darke County Youth

Bradford’s Mandi Bates and FM’s Tara Goubeaux look to gain control of a rebound.

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