BRADLEY — In some cases, a loss can be just as valuable as a win, depending on how you plan to learn from it.
And that’s certainly what Bradley-Bourbonnais head coach Liz Swindle plans to do with her squad after they suffered their third-straight defeat following a 56-27 loss to Lincoln-Way Central at home on Thursday evening.
“We talk about taking a step forward everyday and I think the last couple of games we’ve kind of stayed the same,” Swindle said. “I think tonight we definitely got better.
“Playing good teams like Lincoln-Way Central helps us get better and we are only going to continue to grow by playing better competition because our SouthWest Suburban Conference is one of the best.”
The Boilermakers struggled offensively from the opening tip-off, as sophomore Ellie Haggard scored Bradley-Bourbonnais’ only made field goal in the opening frame, leaving the home team to quickly trail 15-5 after one quarter of action following a hot start that saw the Knights cash 3 made 3-pointers within the first eight minutes.
“I was pleased with our intensity to start the game in the first quarter,” Swindle said. “We got open looks, but we’ve had a habit of not being able to convert them. So we are going to continue to work on that the rest of this week in practice and see if we can move forward.”
Things only got further out of hand in the second quarter when Lincoln-Way Central capitalized on seven second-quarter BBCHS turnovers by turning them into six free points for the Knights. It helped the road team open the second frame on a 9-3 run before they took a commanding 31-11 lead into the second half.
“Lincoln-Way Central is a really good team,” Swindle said. “They are disciplined and they got up in the passing lanes, which bothered us offensively. Defensively, I was pleased with our effort.”
Bradley-Bourbonnais held its own during the first few opening minutes of the second half. They went toe-to-toe with the 12-5 Knights, going on a 7-5 run to begin the third before the Knights caught absolute fire from beyond the arc. Up 35-18, the Knights went on to smack three-straight 3-pointers to extend their lead to 44-18 before taking the win by double-digits.
After totaling just three made field goals inside the arc and two 3-pointers all while shooting 50-percent from the free throw line (15-of-30) during its 19-point loss to its SWSC rival, the Boilermakers are poised to turn their focus towards the offensive side, especially since four of their five starters are sophomores or younger.
The struggles offensively is something Bradley-Bourbonnais will look to clean up as it begins the final stretch of conference games during the second half of the season.
“I think we just got tired,” Swindle said. “I think we lost some steam at the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter. We didn’t use our legs and that’s something we will also have to work on, but I’m proud of my girls’ effort overall.
“The defensive intensity was there all night, but we just have to work on our offense and be able to put the ball in the hoop.”
Haggard led Bradley-Bourbonnais with six points, four rebounds, and one steal. Emmie Longtin added one point and a team-high eight rebounds. Madison Kelly notched six points off the bench to go along with one steal and an assist.
Bradley-Bourbonnais (7-11) will host Lincoln-Way West at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.