Through the game’s first six minutes, Bradford went 3-for-5 from the 3-point line, held DuBois Catholic to just one made field goal, and forced six turnovers.
It gave the Lady Owls a 14-2 lead set the tone for the rest of the game.
And Bradford proved that that hot stretch wasn’t just an anomaly, either, as the Lady Owls dominated from start to finish en route to a 60-45 victory over the Lady Cardinals in a non-league contest Monday night at Bradford High.
Losers of four of their past five games, Bradford (5-7) got off to a nearly perfect start by scoring the game’s first 10 points and leading by double digits until DCC hit its first field goal of the game with 2:12 to play in the first quarter.
With two freshmen in its starting lineup on Monday night, the game’s opening minutes had even more importance for Bradford, according to head coach Bob Hannon.
“We try to stress every game coming out with intensity right off the bat,” he said. “I thought we did (tonight) and it’s so much easier, especially for a young team — and I think of us as a young team in terms of basketball knowledge — when you’re ahead 7-0, 8-2 or something like that.
It’s a lot easier, you’re a lot more relaxed and a lot more composed. Whereas if you’re down by 7 or 8-0 you start pressing and that shows with our team.”
One of those two freshman starters, Alanna Benson, carried the Lady Owls in the first eight minutes. Benson knocked down both of her 3-point attempts and finished with eight points in the quarter. She added six in the second half to pick up a career-high 14 points.
Fellow freshman Sierra Taylor knocked in eight points and added several offensive rebounds to her statline.
“That’s huge,” Hannon said of the freshman contributions. “That’s one of the reasons that we shuffled the lineup a little bit because we needed to get more offense out of our team. Alanna and Sierra have provided some of that offense so that’s a positive thing for us. And then we have just a little rotation going when the other girls come in.”
And when DuBois Catholic (4-9) began to tighten up defensively in the middle two quarters, Bradford’s Hannah Lary — one of the best shooters in District 9 — went to work.
Lary, who entered the game with back-to-back 20-point performances, had 19 of her game-high 22 points Monday in the second and third quarters to help the Lady Owls build their lead to 52-31 heading into the fourth.
The junior sank five 3-pointers as the Lady Owls went 7-for-16 from deep in the game. DCC, meanwhile, didn’t hit its first 3-point shot until the fourth quarter and attempted just six for the game.
Lary also provided her typically stellar defense, giving the DCC guards fits all night as she racked up at least five steals.
Erica Marshall added 12 points for the Lady Owls, which were able to get 10 girls into the game and were able to pull most of their starters with the score out of reach late in the fourth quarter.
“Everybody did something to help us win,” Hannon said. “When they are all going on the same cylinders, it’s a pretty exciting team to watch. I told the girls that that’s one of the better games we’ve played this year. Without question.”
Shay Gulvas had a team-high 15 points for the Lady Cardinals, but had just seven entering the fourth quarter.
For Bradford, which had just two D9 League games over its first 12 contests of the season, now begins a critical stretch of league games beginning on Wednesday at home against DuBois.
So far, Bradford is 0-2 in league play, but Hannon is hoping that Monday’s win, with so many of his girls getting involved in the action, can begin to build some momentum for the team.
“I’m happy for all of them,” Hannon said. “I mean it’s good to get a win and hopefully that carries over to Wednesday when we play DuBois and maybe we can get something going here.
“If they can all contribute and feel positive about themselves, it’s going to help us be a better team.”
DuBois Catholic (46)
Shay Gulvas 6 2-4 15, Sophie Ginther 4 2-2 10, Cogley 3 2-3 8, Swalligan 3 1-2 7, Kosko 1 0-0 2, Farley 1 0-0 2, Jacob 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19 7-11 46
Hannah Lary 8 1-2 22, Alanna Benson 5 1-2 14, Erica Marshall 5 2-4 12, Taylor 4 0-0 8, Swanson 1 0-0 2, Warner 1 0-0 2. Totals: 24 4-8 60
DCC 8 21 31 46
Bradford 17 36 52 60
Three-point goals: DCC 1 (Gulvas), Bradford 8 (Lary 5, Benson 3); Total fouls: DCC 16, Bradford 15; Fouled out: none
JV: no game