After a strong preseason performance and a respectable 5-5 finish in the Sierra Valley Conference, Bradshaw Christian is looking to do some damage in the postseason.
The Pride started the season with a 6-1 record, finished the preseason with a winning record (including some wins over programs from higher divisions) and Pride coach Alex Williams noted that their four losses heading into the SVC finale against Liberty Ranch totaled a deficit of just 12 points.
With the postseason brackets being released Feb. 15 in the afternoon (the Sac-Joaquin Section is aiming for a 3:30 or 4 p.m. release via their online bracket announcement show; updates can be found through the SJS’s social media), the Pride are ready to take their talents to the playoffs.
“When we didn’t turn the ball over and we had effective possessions, we made them count. So that’s where it’s tough. We preach all the time, ‘value the ball’ and we didn’t do that tonight so we’ll see. Now we have to run to the playoffs and see what we can do,” Williams said of the Pride’s 102-70 loss to the Hawks at Liberty Ranch High School Feb. 11.
Heading into the league finale, Jaylen Patterson averaged a team-leading 13.9 points per game, Javion Cooper averaged 12 points and a team-leading 11.9 rebounds per game as well as leading the team in blocks. Patterson leads the team in steals and assists, and coupled with an all-around skilled roster that ranges from a freshman to just three seniors, the team has shown it’s capable of making waves on both sides of the court.
In the Feb. 11 game, the Hawks led by 13 points by the end of the first quarter; a 9-3 scoring run by the Hawks at the start of the second quarter put the Pride in a 19-point hole.
In the second half, the Pride battled to stay in the game as the Hawks went on an 11-0 run in the third quarter. Although Bradshaw Christian scored 26 points in the fourth quarter fueled in part by five three-pointers, it was too late to make much of an impact.
“We looked young and it’s unfortunate. We turned the ball over a lot, it hurt us,” Williams said of the game. “When we turn the ball over as much as we did, it’s hard to get into a rhythm. It’s hard to get into a place to get open shots.”
In the team’s last meeting, Liberty Ranch won 70-63; the Pride’s previous largest loss was by a 19-point deficit against Bishop Minogue on Dec. 19.
Williams noted that the Feb. 11 loss was an abnormality compared to what the Pride has shown all season.
“You take this game out, we lost four games in league by 12 points. We lost a one point game, a one point game, a three point game, a seven-point game. The good thing is, going into playoffs, we’re ready because we played good competition. I feel like we’re ready for what’s coming. We’ve been put in tough positions, we’ve been in close games and I feel like our kids can handle it and we know what to expect.”