By Josh Brown
PITSBURG — Last season, Franklin Monroe came to Troy Christian in the season opener and posted an overtime victory.
This year, the Eagles returned the favor.
The Troy Christian basketball team watched the Jets put together a fourth-quarter rally and force overtime Friday night at Franklin Monroe — and then fell behind in that overtime — but Connor Case hit a 3-pointer with 18 seconds remaining to give the Eagles the lead, and Troy Christian put away a 58-54 victory.
“We love playing Franklin Monroe right off the get-go, because they’re very well-coached and they have a lot of talent on the floor,” Troy Christian coach Ray Zawadzki said. “It’s a very competitive matchup. The last two years, both games have gone into overtime. And both times, the visitors have won.”
This season, though, the Eagles (1-0) were prepared.
“We have a pretty experienced group this year, so we started preparing for Franklin Monroe a little earlier than we normally do. And our focus as a group was to limit (Ethan) Conley to as few touches as possible. He’s averaged 30.5 points in his first two games against us as a freshman and a sophomore, so we really wanted to focus on him — and he finished with six points tonight. So what was the difference tonight? Our team defense.”
The Eagles led 38-31 heading into the fourth quarter and maintained an eight-point lead with four minutes to play. But a Franklin Monroe 3 with 25 seconds to play tied the score at 50-50, and the Jets grabbed the early advantage in the overtime.
“They went up by three, and it took us until two minutes to go to cut it to one,” Zawadzki said. “We were down one with 18 seconds to go, and I called timeout. We ran a special play for James Anderson — three defenders went after James and left Connor Case wide open at the top of the key. Izaak Frantom found him, and Connor buried the shot with 5.8 seconds remaining.
“That’s what says a lot about our group right now. If they continue to listen and want to be coached and want to learn and get better, then this group can be pretty good,” Zawadzki said.
Two Eagles had double-doubles in the game. Anderson led the way with 23 points and 18 rebounds, while Jackson Kremer added 11 points and 10 rebounds. Case finished the game with seven points.
Troy Christian traveled to New Bremen Saturday night before opening at home Dec. 8 against Jefferson.
Miami East 67,
CASSTOWN — Sophomore Brendon Bertsch scored a game-high 21 points off the bench Friday night, spurring a Viking rally and leading Miami East (1-0) to a 67-60 victory over Northwestern in its season opener at home.
Justin Brown added 13 points and Austin Rutledge added 11 points and nine rebounds as the Vikings battled back after falling behind by as many as 17-6 early and then 19-10 at the end of the first quarter. But the Vikings got 31 points out of its bench on the night, cutting the deficit to one point at 27-26 at halftime. Miami East held a 45-42 lead after a back-and-forth third quarter and put the game away from the free throw line in the fourth.
“It was a very physical game,” Miami East coach Allen Mack said. “There was a total of 47 fouls called, 21 on us and 26 on them. So we did a good job of taking the ball to the basket. We had eight players score in the game, and eight went to the free throw line.
“We weren’t sure what we’d see in the first game of the season. But we got a great performance out of our bench, with them scoring nearly half of our points. We were very pleased with the effort tonight.”
HILLSBORO — Bethel had to play its game in the 2017 Ohio Valley Hoops Classic without senior point guard Caleb South.
But Kendal James and Alex van Haaren stepped up in his absence and returning starter Ryan Rose had a big game, leading the Bees (1-0) to an impressive 76-49 victory over Williamsburg Saturday.
Rose led the Bees with 27 points and James finished with 26 points, with the duo combining to hit 10 of the Bees’ 11 3-pointers on the day — Rose with six of them and James with four. Alex van Haaren led Bethel in rebounding with 12 and added five points, Jacob Evans scored nine points and Jared Evans chipped in four.
“I challenged both Kendal and Alex a little, and they both stepped up in their roles,” Bethel coach Brett Kopp said. “That’s why this team comes together. They know what they’re supposed to do, and they do it.”
Bethel hosts Bellbrook Monday.
Middletown Chr. 62
BRADFORD — First-year Bradford coach Dante Dunston saw his Railroaders win in his debut in Friday night’s season opener, 67-62 over visiting Middletown Christian.
Parker Smith led the Railroaders (1-0) with 26 points and Dialaquan Millhouse added 23 points, five assists, five steals and five rebounds. Josh Phillips chipped in nine points and 11 rebounds.
Other scores: Wapakoneta 62, Piqua (0-1) 33. Jackson Center 48, Lehman (0-1) 39.
* Girls Basketball
DAYTON — The Troy girls basketball team started slow for the second straight game, falling behind 5-3 after the first quarter Saturday at Ponitz.
But the Trojans turned it on, as well, taking a four-point lead by the half and pulling away for a 35-17 victory to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Tia Bass led the Trojans with a double-double, 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kiyha Adkins added six points, Alaura Holycross had five points, five rebounds and three assists and McKenna Taylor had five points. Jordan Short dished out four assists and Lauren McGraw had six rebounds and three steals.
Troy hosts Greenville Wednesday to kick off division play.
TIPP CITY — After falling by 10 to Fairmont in last season’s opener, Tippecanoe had something to prove Saturday.
And after falling behind by 10 at halftime Saturday, the Red Devils (2-0) did just that, outscoring the Firebirds 21-7 in the third quarter and holding on in the fourth for a 61-55 victory at home.
Maddie Frederick led the Devils with 24 points, Cali Stewart added 16 and Allison Mader scored 15.
Tippecanoe travels to Sidney Wednesday to open division play.
MIDDLETOWN — Milton-Union traveled to Madison Saturday for its second straight Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division rivalry matchup to begin the season, falling 58-52 at Madison.
Olivia Brown had 16 points, 12 rebounds and four assists to lead the Bulldogs (0-2, 0-2 SWBL Buckeye), Morgan Nemeth added 10 points, seven steals and six rebounds, Kristen Dickison had nine points, seven assists and six rebounds and Beyonce Bobbitt added eight points.
Milton-Union hosts Brookville Monday.
VERSAILLES — The Covington girls basketball team fell behind Saturday at Versailles 16-3 after the first quarter and never recovered, losing its first game of the season 60-39 to the Tigers.
Sammi Whiteman led the Buccaneers (3-1) with 15 points and Jordan Crowell added 11.
Covington hosts Bradford Monday.
Other scores: Franklin Monroe 44, Troy Christian (2-1) 39.
SPRINGFIELD — The Covington wrestling team kicked off the season at the opening night of the Northeastern Invitational Friday, going 3-0 in duals by defeating Urbana 41-29, Springfield Shawnee 62-12 and Kenton Ridge 54-22.
The Buccaneers then finished off the perfect run through the tournament on Saturday, going 5-0 by defeating West Liberty-Salem 75-6, Hillsboro 54-28, Northeastern 64-12, Waynesville 71-9 and Northwestern 54-25 in the championship dual to claim first place overall.
Going 8-0 for Covington were: Kellan Anderson (106, three pins), Cael Vanderhorst (113, six pins) and Keringten Martin (152, four pins). Riley Richards (126, seven pins) was 7-1, Fletcher Metz (145, six pins) was 6-2, Hunter Clarkson (152, six pins) was 6-0, Duncan Cooper (160, four pins) was 7-1, Kyle Barga (132, six pins) was 6-2, Grant Babylon (285, three pins) was 5-0, Trentin Alexander (152, five pins) was 5-1, Gavin Swank (145, four pins) was 4-2, and going 5-3 on the weekend were: Taylen Viney (120, one pin), Austin Flick (138, two pins), Gavin McReynolds (170, one pins) and Dylan Staudt (220).
Covington hosts rival Versailles in a dual Tuesday.
FINDLAY — The Miami East Vikings lost in the semifinal round by one point on Saturday at the Findlay Duals, settling for a third-place finish overall with a 4-1 record on the day.
Miami East opened with a 46-34 win over Carey, then defeated Rossford 54-18 and Olmsted Falls 38-36 before falling 37-36 to Napolean in the semis. In the consolation final, the Vikings defeated Medina 40-25 to take third.
Alex Isbrandt (138) was 5-0 with four pins and a major decision, Brenden Dalton (182) was 5-0 with four pins, Graham Shore (113) was 4-0 with three pins and Olivia Shore was 4-0 with a pin. Kaleb Nickels (120) was 4-1 with three pins, Zane Strubler (138) was 4-1 with three pins and a major decision, Matt Welker (152) was 4-1 with four pins, Travis Ferguson was 3-2 with a pin, a tech. fall and a major decision, Cole Mergler (113) was 3-1 with two pins and Jarrett Winner (145) was 1-0 with a pin. Garrett Kowalak (106) added a win, and Michael Miller (138) added a win by tech. fall.
The Vikings next compete at a quad at Butler Dec. 13.
TIPP CITY — The Tippecanoe girls swimming team narrowly lost to Versailles at a season-opening tri-meet Friday at the Robinson Branch YMCA, scoring 111 points to the Tigers’ 113 and Northmont’s 83. The Red Devil boys finished third with 57.5 points to Northmont’s 144.5 and Versailles’ 83.
Winning events for the girls were: the 200 medley relay team of Alissa Buynak, Tori Prenger, Simone King and Nicole Downing (2:12.65), the same quartet in the 400 free relay (4:25.53) and Prenger in the 100 back (1:08.53).
Evan Hill had the best finish for the boys, taking second in the 100 free (57.9 seconds) and the 400 free relay team of Hill, Raymond Burkey, Andrew Doviak and Luke Anticoli was second (4:10.12).
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.