Rematch with Mullen offers girls same result
Eagles finish second in SHC tourney
DUNNING—The Brady girls have averaged 20 steals a game so far this season with transition buckets allowing for a quick attack.
It’s a style of play that has propelled the Eagle girls to a No. 9 state ranking in Class D-2.
But when the full-court press didn’t result in fast-break scoring in the championship game of the Sandhills Conference tournament last week, the Eagles found themselves struggling to put the ball in the basket.
“It was our lowest output of the season,” said Brady basketball coach Lance Arterburn after the Eagles fell 50-37 to Mullen in the conference championship at Dunning on Friday. “We had shot opportunities. We just didn’t put them in.”
At the same time, Arterburn said, Mullen’s girls shot extremely well, challenging Brady’s defense.
The Eagle press was not producing points in the first half, the coach said, but instead caused a bit of foul trouble.
Arterburn backed off in the full-court pressure in the second half to a zone defense and Mullen continued to make the Eagles pay with outside buckets, he said.
Junior Valerie Most led Brady with 14 points.
The Eagles got to the championship game after defeating Stapleton-McPherson County in the semi-finals 45-27.
It was the third time the Eagles have faced the Cyclones this season.
“After playing us three times, they start to figure us out,” Arterburn said. “They play hard, there’s no doubt, but fortunately they just can’t keep up with us.”
The Eagles move to 14-3 on the season following the conference tournament loss, Brady’s second to Mullen.
The girls’ only other loss was against Class C-2 Southern Valley.
“It’s funny,” Arterburn said. “Five years ago when the girls got to 14-3, we thought they were superstars. Now, we’re just not satisfied.”
It’s that change in expectation, he said, that has boosted the Eagle program to one of the best in the state.
“It’s a good thing to not be satisfied with that,” he said. “But with it comes a little more pressure.”
Brady will host Hyannis (5-6) on Friday before Maxwell (3-13) comes up the road on Saturday.
“I think we need to go back to what we like to do and what we do well,” Arterburn said. “We just need to get back to the basics of Brady basketball with intense defense and break-away scoring.”
Finishing the regular season with four consecutive wins should put the Eagles in a position of confidence going into a tough sub-district that begins Feb. 11.
Friday’s game with the Longhorns is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Saturday is parents night for the Eagles with the game against Maxwell set for 6 p.m. as well.