Bradford battles "shutdown" in loss to Preble Shawnee
CAMDEN – On most nights if you score 72-points in a game that is going to be a win. But that was not the case as the Bradford Railroaders faced off against the Preble Shawnee Arrows. Bradford scored their points, but Shawnee wore out the Bradford defense in the second half and stretched out an 11-point halftime lead into a 20-point win, 72-92.
“Hats off to Shawnee, they played hard, they played aggressive and they played fast. Everyone knows about Mason Shrout – but that Xavier Adams kid is a good ball player,” said Bradford coach Jay Hall. “Then Ethan Woodard had a good night shooting the ball. I am proud that we fought but I am a little disappointed with how things went towards the end.”
It was a showdown between two teams battling for the top of the league. Bradford’s program has caught a wave this season, thanks in part to Parker Davidson who is among the top in league scoring alongside Shawnee’s Mason Shrout. Davidson did lead all scorers on this night with 33 points despite being guarded by Shrout almost the entire night.
Shrout would score 27 points and grab his share of rebounds and assists, but a lot of his points were in the fourth quarter when Bradford was pressing. Sophomore Hudson Hill got the defensive assignment against Shrout. He held Shrout to just 7 first half points which was a feat. Shawnee did post up Shrout in the third quarter several times and the outsized Hill had to defend close to the basket. But as Bradford opened up their defense in the second half, it gave Shrout lanes to the basket which he as able to use to his advantage.
“Hudson Hill did a good job,” said Hall. “We did not tell him the plan until just before the game. We didn’t want him to overthink things. He put out a good effort. We let him down by not rebounding after a missed shot. Shrout shoots and misses – then someone else grabs the rebound and puts it in. Shrout did score well at the end when we tried to speed things up. I have a lot of respect for Shrout, he is one heck of a player.”
Both teams opened at a furious pace and were equal in intensity. Shawnee did try to press, but Bradford easily handled the pressure so they called it off. But Shawnee did get points in transition. Getting a rebound or a steal and getting that long pass down the court for a layup. Rebounding was something that Shawnee did well the entire night – getting a second chance on offense and many times limiting Bradford to one shot on defense.
It was a 3-point game at the end of the first quarter 13-16 in favor of Shawnee. At the 5-minute mark of the second quarter, Bradford actually had a narrow lead 22-21. But their shooting grew cold and the team seemed fatigued. Suddenly, Shawnee shooting was hot – they hit three treys in a row and just like that Bradford was staring at a double digit deficit that they would not recover from. They were down 31-42 at halftime.
Over the holidays the Railroaders were hit with illness and actually had to withdrawal from the Covington tournament. So they had an extended layoff with no games and limited practice. This meant that the team got out of their weekly rhythm and also meant that they could not stay in as good a shape as they would have liked. So this lead to the team hitting the wall late in the second quarter and in the fourth quarter where they seemed to run low on energy.
“It was our fourth day of practice – we were shutdown from Christmas on,” Coach Hall noted. “We had a lot of guys out and we had to pull out of the holiday tournament. I am proud of them for what they did with just four days together. Our gas tank is not full. Other teams are in midseason form and we are pretty much starting over.”
In the third and fourth quarters Shawnee really pushed the ball in transition. And in the fourth quarter Bradford made a last frantic effort by pressing the Arrows. This meant the game was played at a rapid pace. Davidson scored 16 of his points during this span as the teams charged up and down the court. But despite these efforts, Shawnee fended off the challenge and actually grew their lead.
It was a disappointing loss for Bradford. But the team has to bounce back in a hurry. They have a stretch of critical games against some of the top teams in the WOAC and also a tough Troy Christian team that currently leads the Three Rivers Conference. How they fare in the next couple of weeks will determine if they remain near the top of the conference or fade to the middle.
“We play Arcanum on Tuesday and they just got their best player back,” said Coach Hall. “Then Mississinawa and Troy Christian. After that is a reschedule against Middletown Christian and then Tri-Village. This is the meat of the schedule. This is where if you perform – you gain some respect. We are not what Bradford has been in the past. These players are putting everything they have into changing that perception. These next three weeks are where we show people who we are now.”
Bradford Scoring: Monnin 8, Canan 6, Hill 5, Davidson 33, Wills 7, Case 13.
Shawnee Scoring: Adams 18, Smith 2, Agee 8, Klapper 2, Haney 2, Roell 7, Blankenship 3, Woodard 23, Shrout 24