How quickly things can change.
A game after a hot shooting night paced Bradford to a win over DuBois Central Catholic, the Lady Owls found themselves on the other end of the spectrum.
Bradford shot just 13-for-52 (25%), including a paltry 4-for-27 (14.8%) night from 3-point range, as the Lady Owls fell to DuBois Area, 50-38.
With the loss, Bradford (5-8, 0-3) is left still in search of its first league win, and with powerhouse Punxsutawney coming to town Friday, the Lady Owls will need to find some answers quickly.
“You have to be able to put the ball in the basket,” said Bradford coach Bob Hannon. “When we came out and shot the ball well (against DCC), we looked a thousand percent better than we did tonight. Tonight, we couldn’t throw it in the ocean.”
Indeed, outside of Hannah Lary’s game-high 22 points, no other Lady Owl finished with more than five. It was the fourth time this year only one Bradford player has scored at least 10, and each of those four games has resulted in a loss.
Initially, the Lady Owls were able to overcome their shooting struggles. Bradford jumped out to an 11-8 lead after the first quarter, and held a slim 20-18 advantage at halftime. The bulk of that scoring came by way of Lary, who poured in 11 in the opening half.
But DuBois kept pounding away, particularly on the glass, and surged back in the second half. The Lady Beavers (7-5, 1-3) frequently scored on second- and third-chance looks at the basket, and made 16 field goals from two-point range.
Meanwhile, as a team, Bradford finished with just 18 rebounds. Sierra Taylor (4 points) led Bradford with seven of those boards, while Erica Marshall added six.
“No doubt about it, we got out-physicaled tonight,” Hannon said. “We weren’t willing to put a body on anybody, and they just pounded us on the boards. Until we grow up and start rebounding, there will be a lot of this… We have to do a better job, and we weren’t physical enough. We got pushed around.”
That struggle on the glass, along with a defense that forced just 10 steals, also kept Bradford from facilitating its oft-potent fastbreak. The Lady Owls scored just a couple times in transition on the night, which forced Bradford into its struggling halfcourt offense.
The inability to get into transition also kept speedy guard Erica Marshall at bay. The senior finished with just five points on the night, which all came in the first half.
In addition, Bradford’s secondary scorers that had made strides in recent games were held to just 11 points as a collective group. Alanna Benson scored five, while Mackenzie Swanson added two.
“We do rely on transition baskets when we get out and run the floor a bit, and not just with layups, but catching girls in space to pull up for a (jumpshot),” Hannon said. “But if we can’t rebound, then we can’t push the ball up the floor like that. You’re taking the ball out of bounds and giving the defense a chance to set up, and that was a big struggle for us.”
But, he added, give DuBois some credit, too. Point guard Abby Guiher led the Lady Beavers with 17 points on the night, while forwards Olivia Johnson and Sarah Henninger scored 11 and eight points, respectively.
Their presence was most felt during an 8-0 third-quarter run, as the trio accounted for six of those points while DuBois grabbed a 34-26 lead — an advantage it wouldn’t surrender the rest of the evening.
“They played a nice game, and (Guiher) runs their offense well,” he said. “I thought they did a nice job, and their bigs hurt us inside. They pounded us on the boards, and we didn’t have an answer for them.”
Now, though, the Lady Owls will have to refocus and re-find their shooting prowess quickly. Punxsutawney enters Friday night’s contest at 8-3 overall and 1-0 in league play, and can assert their dominance at any given point, according to Hannon.
“Punxsy will be a tough game, so we’ll have to come ready to play,” he noted. “They’re capable of putting a pounding on you if you aren’t ready. We just have to put the ball in the basket. If we put the ball in the basket, good things will come for us, and we’ll have more confidence and play a little better.”
Abby Guiher 7 0-1 17, Olivia Johnson 4 3-5 11, I. Geist-Salone 2 0-0 4, Weible 2 2-4 6, Henninger 3 2-5 8, Pfeufer 1 2-2 4. Totals: 19 9-17 50
Hannah Lary 8 4-5 22, Benson 2 0-0 5, Marshall 1 2-2 5, Taylor 2 0-0 4, Swanson 0 2-2 2. Totals: 13 8-9 38
DuBois 8 18 36 50
Bradford 11 20 31 38
Three-point goals: DuBois 3 (Guiher 3), Bradford 4 (Lary 2, Benson 1, Marshall 1); Total fouls: DuBois 12, Bradford 18; fouled out: none.
JV: DuBois won, 33-13