CARROLL, Ohio -- Get your tickets ahead of time and your popcorn at the concession stand any time Emily Bratton takes the floor. The Bloom-Carroll sophomore point guard is a treat to watch and one of the best playmakers in the state.
Bratton proved it once again on Tuesday in the Bulldogs' season opener, leading all players with 19 points and a handful of rebounds and assists to power Bloom-Carroll (1-0) to a 42-35 win over rival Canal Winchester (1-2).
While she may have started off slow, Bratton quickly rebounded in the second quarter, helping Bloom-Carroll go on a 15-8 run to take a 20-15 advantage into halftime. While Canal Winchester trimmed the deficit to a single possession a handful of times in the second half, the Indians could never strike a blow significant enough to swing the game.
Bratton's control of the offensive side of the floor and the Bulldogs' stout defensive rebounding helped power Bloom to the victory. On a team that starts three sophomores and two seniors, Bloom-Carroll was impressive all around after surviving a sluggish start that included a litany of turnovers.
Canal Winchester started off strong but never recovered from the second quarter on. The Indians have a talented roster but could not put together a run to take over Tuesday's road contest.
Bratton led all scorers with 19 points in the win. For Canal Winchester, senior Kate Ratliff led the way with 10 points.
Bloom-Carroll will look to keep winning when they head to division rival Circleville on Saturday. With Circleville graduating two great seniors and Liberty Union losing star Abbie Riddle for the season, the window of opportunity is wide open for Bloom-Carroll to take control of the MSL-Buckeye this season.
Canal Winchester, with three games under its belt already, will look to get back to .500 when they play a week from tonight at home against Big Walnut.
Let's take a look at the top performers from the game.
Emily Bratton (5'8 PG / Bloom-Carroll / 2024): Bratton's talent, skill and creativity jump out the most when you watch her. There are not many players in the girls game that can do the things she does, let alone think of them. The sophomore is a next level passer who displays incredible vision, anticipation, creativity and touch on her passes, which she can deliver with either hand. The 5-foot-8 guard is a knockdown perimeter shooter, both off movement and off the bounce, while having the wiggle, handle and first step quickness to get by defenders to the rim. Despite only being an underclassmen, Bratton has a great feel, a high IQ and the smarts and maturity to make the right basketball play on most trips down the floor. She was a frequent member of our Hoops and Hope Bible study over the summer and has displayed great growth in her faith journey as well, things that are undoubtedly helping her on the court. Bratton is a special young player that we enjoy covering and being around.
Kate Ratliff (5'11 G / Canal Winchester / 2023): We really enjoy Ratliff's game. She has great size, athleticism, strength and playmaking skills that make her a very tough matchup. There was not a stronger finisher in Tuesday's game, as Ratliff did an excellent job at using her body to get into the paint where she finished with consistency. The junior is a capable shooter, has strong handling coordination and is a talented passer that sees the floor and can find open teammates. Most teams will not have a matchup for Ratliff which should lead to some impressive scoring nights this season for the Canal Winchester junior. She is definitely a prospect to keep an eye on this year.
Rory Chapman (5'10 G / Canal Winchester / 2023): Dead eye shooter. Those are three words to accurately describe Chapman who had a strong shooting performance on Tuesday. If give any type of space, Chapman can make you pay as she made it rain from the perimeter. For the Indians to be successful this season, they will need Chapman to continue to step up and hit big shots.
Kay Dunn (5'6 PG / Canal Winchester / 2024): Any time you get the opportunity to go up against one of the best players at your position in your class, you have to take advantage of it. Dunn had that opportunity on Tuesday and made the most of it. We like the way she defends on the perimeter, as she is an irritable point of attack defender that can bother most high school guards. Dunn has great quickness and a natural feel to her game as a playmaker. She should be able to really help this Canal team for the next three seasons as she is a capable scorer, has a good feel and already has the communication part down as a point guard, a trait that all great point guards need to have to be successful.
Reese Pittman (5'6 G / Bloom-Carroll / 2022): Bratton's backcourt mate for Bloom-Carroll, Pittman is a shot maker that gives a big boost for this Bulldogs team. Pittman takes pressure off Bratton as a scorer, as she can stretch the floor with her jumper but is also confident going to the rim where she displayed the ability to finish. For the Bulldogs to compete at a conference and district champion level, they'll need Pittman to give Bratton a lift and we feel the senior is more than capable of doing that.