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CC junior scores 32 in conference, county rival victory

 

LONG-RANGE BOMBER JIMMY GILLISPIE/jgillispie@ftimes.com

LONG-RANGE BOMBER

Clinton Central junior Caitlyn Bradley (13) attempts a three-pointer in front of several Rossville defenders during the third quarter Thursday night. Bradley scored 32 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 60-57 victory.

Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013 8:00 pm

BY JIMMY GILLISPIE jgillispie@ftimes.com

MICHIGANTOWN – Caitlyn Bradley gave her Clinton Central girls’ basketball team an early Christmas present Thursday night.

Bradley actually gave the Bulldogs many presents – 32 to be exact – as she led them to a Hoosier Heartland Conference and Clinton County victory. The Clinton Central junior scored 23 second-half points as she propelled the Bulldogs to a home win, 60-57, over Rossville.

“Oh my goodness, that has to be a career high for her,” CC head coach Kyle Etherington said. “Caitlyn answered the challenge tonight. For so long we’ve been telling the girls to look for your shot or look for who’s hot. The girls got it to her. It was wonderful to see, finally.”

After the game, Bradley was happy to help her team win the game.

“It means a lot because we’ve lost quite a few games in a row before this,” Bradley said. “It’s a conference win, so we’re 1-1 in the conference. We were a lot better tonight. This will boost our confidence a lot.”

Etherington was all smiles after the game.

“This win means so much to our players and our coaching staff,” Etherington said. “We have preached and preached the last couple of weeks to take what we practice to the game, to have the right attitude and to have the mentality that we want to promote here at the school. Tonight, it was beautiful. The girls came in and they were excited and energetic.”

Rossville head coach Michael Gick knew Bradley’s 32-point performance was too much to overcome, despite a great offensive output by his team.

“She was the difference in the ball game,” Gick said. “She couldn’t miss for a while. That was maybe our best offensive output all year. We shot the ball well.”

Bradley, who led all players with 32 points, exploded for 16 points in the third quarter as she helped the Bulldogs build a lead over their county and conference rival. She sank a trio of three-pointers during a four-minute stretch, propelling a 16-5 run by Bulldogs. She also added a three pointer, a layup and a pair of free throws during the fourth quarter to help lock up the victory.

“Our defense has been great all year and we had some breakdowns tonight,” Gick said. “A girl like No. 13, when she gets as hot as she did tonight, can make you look like you played bad defense at times, too. We lost her a couple of times. Kudos to her, too. She hit big shots in big situations and drained some big threes.”

Central took a two-point lead into the final quarter of Thursday’s contest. Junior Abby Jordan quickly increased the lead to five with an offensive rebound and put back. Rossville junior Breanna Wainscott scored a pair of buckets before and after a Bradley three, while also dishing an assist to junior Brooke Hughes as the Hornets cut the lead to two points.

Jordan and sophomore Avree Barrett each scored a bucket after grabbing offensive rebounds during the next two minutes. Bradley also added a basket as the Bulldogs built the lead to eight points with 4:57 remaining in the game. A pair of Bradley free throws gave the Bulldogs a 60-51 lead with 2:16 left in the contest. The Bulldogs failed to score the rest of the way.

“Tonight was a big win and Rossville pushed us to the limit,” Etherington said. “Michael knows his stuff. I’ve also respected him as a coach and I’ve always loved watching his teams play, because they get after it, he’s very intelligent and he tries to put them where they can be successful.”

Rossville freshman Keely Criswell grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the next possession. Rossville scored two more buckets and cut the lead to three points with 38 seconds left in the game. Seconds later, Wainscott drove baseline and attempted a shot that sailed long and was rebounded by CC. The Bulldogs turned it over seconds later, giving Rossville one last shot with 15 seconds remaining.

The Hornets drew up a play during a time out. Wainscott dribbled to the top of the key and pump faked, causing two CC players to fly past her. She attempted a game-tying three-pointer that fell short and bounced off of the rim. A CC defensive rebound and another missed free throw, followed by a full-court heave by Wainscott ended the game.

“The last shot we took, I thought it was down the whole way,” Gick said. “I thought Bre hit it.”

Bradley helped the Bulldogs build a first-quarter lead with nine points. After Rossville built a 4-0 lead, Bradley and sophomore Lexie McQuinn hit back-to-back threes before Jordan scored after grabbing an offensive rebound. Bradley scored two layups and another shot to help the Bulldogs lead 16-12 after the first quarter.

“I haven’t been shooting that well lately,” Bradley said. “My teammates helped me get open and shots just started to fall.”

There were six ties during the second quarter. Rossville used a 6-0 lead to tie the game at 18-18. Neither team led by more than two points during the final five minutes of the half. Rossville sophomore Taylor Zink made a shot to give the Hornets a 29-27 lead at the break.

“We walked into halftime and the girls were talking about what (Rossville) was doing and what they were seeing,” Etherington said. “It was refreshing. A lot of times, we’d get into halftime and wonder how the girls are going to respond. Tonight, they kept fighting like we knew they could.”

Three Rossville players scored in double figures Thursday. Criswell led the team with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Zink and Hughes added 12 and 10 points, respectively. As a team, the Hornets shot 9-of-19 from the foul line.

“We couldn’t be any happier with our balanced scoring,” Gick said. “I have a freshman that goes for 21 points and 12 rebounds. That’s fantastic. We had three girls in double figures.

“I thought Sydney Hrdlicka did a nice job off of the bench with her defense,” he added. “She also grabbed a few rebounds and hit a couple of buckets.”

McQuinn and Barrett each scored nine points for the Bulldogs. Jordan also added six points.

Central will have a week before its next game. The Bulldogs will play Seeger on Thursday.

“Seeger is a very talented team and it will be a good challenge for our girls,” Etherington said. “We are looking forward to it before the holiday break.”

Rossville is back in action today. The Hornets will play host to North White at 11 a.m.