The 2021-22 Bradford Lady Railroaders Varsity Basketball Team. (Don Selanders Photo)

Bradford Varsity Girls 2021-22 Basketball Preview

BRADFORD – The Bradford varsity girls basketball team had a great post season run last year shocking Troy Christian to win a sectional title before bowing out to Legacy Christian in the District Finals.  The Railroaders finished the year 20-6 and will return 3 seniors who played a big role on the team last year.

Returning is Austy Miller, Rylee Canan and Abby Fike along with a 4th senior Alexis Barhorst.

Austy Miller was an All-Southwest Ohio 1st team selection who averaged 18.5 points a game and surpassed 1,000 points in her career last season.  

Rylee Canan is a 5’4” guard who can knock down the open triple, distribute the basketball and is an excellent defender. 

Abby Fike is a 5’3” forward who just goes out and makes winning plays and is a very competitive player.

Brooklyn Crickmore is a 5’10” sophomore post player looking to give the Railroaders some size in the paint.

Also seeing lots of action will be Isabella Hamilton a 5’3” junior forward and Megan Wood a 5’9” freshman forward

“Our strength begins with our 3 seniors.  They provide great leadership in the gym.  Our level of success will depend on staying healthy first and foremost.  We only have 9 player’s total.  We will need to play solid defense and improve our rebounding also.  Our main goal is to be competitive in every game and put ourselves in a position to win,” Bradford coach Chris Besecker said.

Chris Besecker was the DIV Southwest District coach of the year in 2020-21 and will be assisted by Jeff Wirrig.

Besecker believes that Tri-Village and Arcanum are two of the top teams and sees National Trail and Preble Shawnee being very competitive as well.  

Although coach Besecker didn’t mention the Lady Railroaders they will be in the hunt for a title in the newly formed Western Ohio Athletic Conference. 

Bradford opened the season last week and currently stands at 2-1 on the year beating Milton Union 58-31, Newton 38-23 and dropped a decision to Houston 47-42.

Austy Miller has scored 23 points a game in the first 3 contest with Rylee Canan adding 8 points and 4 steals per game.  

Senior Austy Miller averaged 18.5 ppg last year & returns to lead the Lady Railroaders again this season. (Dale Barger Photo)
Senior Rylee Canan has been a 4-year player for Bradford and the Railroaders will need her steady influence this year. (Dale Barger Photo)
Senior Abby Fike will bring a fiery competitiveness to the floor every night for the Lady Railroaders. (Dale Barger Photo)
Coach Chris Besecker can't hide behind the mask this year as he was selected as the Southwest Ohio DIV Coach of the Year in 2020-21. (Dale Barger Photo)
Here is the Bradford 2021-22 Girls Varsity Basketball Schedule.

Dale Barger / Sports Editor

Dale Barger is a lifelong sports enthusiast and has covered high school athletics for nearly 20 years in Southwest Ohio and now becomes sports editor for Darke County now. For 18 years Dale has been a sportswriter for The Daily Advocate and has been published in online sorts magazines and conference websites. Dale is also an accomplished photographer who has captured thousands of athletes in action over the years. Dale is a member of The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association and was a 2019 recipient of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Southwest District Media Service Award. Dale lives on a 72-acre farm outside of New Madison, Ohio and is married to Rita Ann (Fourman) Barger and together they have two sons and three grandkids. If you don’t see Dale at a sporting event you might catch him following his other passion – photographing nature and wildlife. Contact Darke County Now Editor Media Sports Editor Dale Barger at

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