HOUSTON — Bradford couldn’t contain the Houston girls team’s inside presence on Saturday in a nonconference game. The Wildcats’ post players carried the team to a 46-31 victory over the Railroaders.
Jess Monnier, a 6-foot junior, scored a season-high 22 points for Houston while Sarah Monnier, a 5-10 senior, added 10 points.
“Both of our post, Sarah and Jessie Monnier, played very well reading each other and finding the open shooter,” Houston coach Brad Allen said. “Our guards handled (Bradford’s) pressure and we had a nice balance between our perimeter and inside game.”
Both teams started slow on Saturday with neither squad scoring in the first four minutes of game action. Bradford’s Skipp Miller finally broke the scoring drought, giving the Railroaders a 2-0 lead with a layup and moments later tying the score at 4-4 with a pair of free throws.
Houston recovered from its slow start with Jess Monnier scoring seven first quarter points and Sarah Monnier contributing two. Morgan Ely also drained a 3-pointer with just one second remaining in the quarter to give the Wildcats a 12-4 lead, ending the period on an 8-0 run.
Bradford’s struggles came from a combination of defensive struggles on the inside and an inability to get the offense working.
Bradford did see some improvements on offense in the second quarter as Emma Canan, Brooke Fair, Bianca Keener and Hannah Fout also tallied points in the period.
Bradford couldn’t make up much ground, however, as the two Monniers combined for 12 more points in the second quarter.
“They’re strong kids,” Bradford coach Patrick McKee said of the Monniers. “Hats off to them. They’re strong. They know how to utilize those kids. Do I think that they should score 22 and 10 on us? Probably not. But are they capable if you don’t play them the right way? Yeah. They’re very good players.”
After being limited by foul trouble in the first half, Miller started to find her rhythm in the third quarter. The freshman scored nine of the first 12 points in the second half, reducing the Railroaders’ deficit to a single point midway through the third quarter.
However, once again Houston started to take control. The Wildcats continued to play well inside and hit some shots from the outside to close the third quarter on an 8-0 run and lead 35-26 entering the fourth quarter.
The momentum remained with Houston in the fourth quarter with the Wildcats pulling further ahead for a 15-point victory.
Houston (4-9, 2-5 Shelby County Athletic League) plays next on Thursday at Anna.
Miller led Bradford with 16 points, including eight from the free-throw line. Bradford shot 17 for 21 from the line.
The Railroaders, which fell to 6-8 with the loss, will return to action on Thursday at Franklin Monroe.
Kyle Shaner is the sports editor of the Greenville Daily Advocate. Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316 or on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate.