By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
BROOKVILLE — Troy Christian 6-foot-2 senior post Sarah Earhart knew the opportunity in front of her.
But, Eagles coach Tony Ferraro gave her a friendly reminder at halftime anyway.
Troy Christian was trailing Bradford 16-10 at the break in a battle of the three and four seeds in the Brookville D-IV sectional.
“I challenged her (Sarah Earhart) at halftime,” Ferraro said. “We have one senior and I told her, let’s make sure this is not your final game.”
Earhart responded with 15 of Troy Christian”s 17 second-half points as the Eagles rallied for a 27-22 victory.
“I knew I needed to do it,” Earhart said. “My teammates do such a great job of getting me the most open shots possible. I knew I needed to make the shots. We have had to battle through so many injuries. For sure, this is a game I will never forget.”
The Eagles, 19-4, will play second seed Franklin Monroe at 7:30 p.m. Monday in a district semifinal.
“They handled us pretty good at their place earlier in the season,” Ferraro said. “We have a couple days to get ready for them.”
Bradford closes the season at 14-9. The good news is the Railroaders had no seniors.
“I think they kind of look at a 14-9 season as a disappointment,” Bradford coach Chris Besecker said. “I think they need to go out and work hard on the summer. They have to work on their offensive games.”
While the Bradford guards were saddled by foul trouble all game, Austy Miller buried a three later in the first half and Bradford took a 16-10 lead to the locker room.
But, the Railroaders would make just one field goal and score just six points in the final two quarters as Earhart began to whittle away at the lead.
“Let’s give the rest of the team a lot of credit,” Ferraro said. “They were all looking to get Sarah (Earhart) the ball and they did a great job. I also thought we did great job on the defensive boards.”
Earhart had four points in the third quarter as Troy Christian closed with 17-14.
Then, she really caught fire with an 11-point fourth quarter and Morgan Taylor added two points.
It was a 3-point shot by Earhart that gave Troy Christian the lead 21-19 with 3:26 remaining.
“When you have played for four years and taken so many shots, you know when the ball is going in,” Earhart said. “That was great feeling. I will never forget that shot.”
Morgan Taylor followed with a layup with 2:14 to go to put the Eagles up 23-19, but Miller followed with a 3-pointer — Bradford’s only field goal of the second half — with 2:00 to go to make it 23-22.
Troy Christian turned the ball over, but Megan Baker grabbed a rebound of a Bradford miss with 1:06 remaining.
Earhart then put in the final dagger, making four of six free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
“He (Chris Besecker) is a great coach who has won something like 45o games ,” Ferraro said. “But, our kids are feisty. They battle.”
Besecker wasn’t happy with the way the season ended.
“It is (tough to stop a 6-2 girl who can shoot from the perimeter),” Besecker said. “We struggled to score, but I think the biggest thing was the foul situation.”
Earhart finished with a game-high 19 points and Morgan Taylor added five.
Miller led Bradford with 10 and Rylie Canan added five — all in the first quarter.
“I told Sarah (Earhart) at halftime she had a chance to do something that would make a lasting impression at Troy Christian that wouldn’t be forgotten,” Ferraro said. “I would say she did that.”
On a night, she will never forget.
Franklin Monroe 68,
In the night’s first game, Newton got in a 26-0 first quarter hole and could never recover.
While Ryan Fiely’s first season as coach didn’t end the way he had hoped, the Indians made much improvement during a 7-16 season and graduate just two seniors.
Brooke Deeter played well in her final game, scoring 10 of the Indians 14 points.
Franklin Monroe hit 14 3-pointers in the win.
Stella Shellabarger led a balanced attack with 16 points.
Corina Conley added 15 points, while Belle Cable scored 14.
Chloe Brumbaaugh scored 10 and Chloe McGlinch added eight.
Contact Rob Kiser at [email protected].
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