the bistro off broadway
Bradford senior Kelly Moore battles MV junior Kelsie Hunt for a rebound
Thursday at Bradford. The Lady Roaders won the Cross County
Conference battle, 52-31. CNO Photos by Dylan Knoop
Bradford defense too much for Lady Hawks
By George Starks

BRADFORD - When the Bradford Lady Railroaders took the floor Thursday against Cross County Conference foe Mississinawa Valley, head coach Patrick McKee was treated to something all coaches would welcome.

A near perfect game.

Bradford put together four solid quarters of basketball and was able to hit on all cylinders, especially early, dropping a 52-31 loss on the Blackhawks.

Early defense was the key for the Roaders.

In fact, it was defense that was key for the first half as Bradford didn’t allow a MV field goal in the opening 16 minutes of play.

Going into the break, McKee was more than pleased with his team, holding a 27-6 lead with all points for the Hawks coming from the free throw line.

“We told the kids at halftime that we gave up zero field goals in the first half,” said a very happy McKee. “We’ve been focusing a lot on defense lately. We’re not the best shooting team, and everybody knows that. It takes heart to play defense the way it’s supposed to be done, and we did that tonight.  We had energy. We had energy before the game and that’s something we’ve been missing all year.”

Bradford started out on a 7-0 run and boosted that lead to 13-0 before the Hawks could muster two points from the line by freshman Sidnie Hunt at the 2:07 mark of the opening quarter.

Going into the break, McKee saw something else he’d not seen this year, holding a 21 point lead.

“This is the most fired up I’ve seen these kids this year,” admitted McKee. “That kind of energy really helped us throughout the night.”

Led by senior Mackenzie Weldy with 14 points and junior Mandi Bates with a dozen, it was the offensive spark of sophomore Chelsea Gill that made a huge difference.

Gill pumped in a season high 13 points for the Roaders in the win.

“I tell the girls all the time that everyone knows that Bradford has Mackenzie Weldy and Mandi Bates,” McKee exclaimed. “We tell everyone else that they all have to do their roll. I tell the girls that I’m not asking everyone to go out and score 15 to 20 a night, but we’ve got to have other scoring besides just those two. Chelsea Gill played a great game. If that kid was five or six inches taller (Only 5’0”), she would be a phenomenal basketball player. She has more heart than I’ve ever met in a kid.”

Even kids like sophomore Hannah Fout that brought the house down.

Fout went to the line late in the game for a two shot opportunity.

Hitting the first, she missed the second attempt but followed her shot, got the board and scored the deuce.

Pure hustle on the part of Fout, finishing with five points in limited playing time.
For the Hawks, it was junior Kelsie Hunt that got the job done on offense.

Hunt scored 18 of the Hawks 31 points, but had no support.

With the first field goal coming at the 5:31 mark of the third frame by Hunt, it was rough for Hershey to watch.

“It didn’t go well for us tonight,” said John Hershey, the Hawks coach. “We were a little slow to start. We never had a goal in the first half, and I told the girls they had to just keep shooting and shoot their way out of this. Kelsie stepped up tonight and did a real nice job for us. She works hard, but we couldn’t put the ball in the hole tonight and it affected us all the way around.”

Additional photos to be posted soon at Empowering Darke County Youth

Kelsie Hunt was the lone bright spot for head coach John Hershey and
Mississinawa Valley. Hunt netted 18 of the Lady Blackhawks 31 points.

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