By Josh Brown
NEW MADISON — The Bethel boys basketball team clinched its second straight outright Cross County Conference championship Friday night in thrilling fashion, defeating Tri-Village on the road in overtime, 94-84.
And Bethel senior Caleb South — who missed more than half the season with an injury — played a key role in the clincher on Friday. He scored a game-high 46 points and five assists to lead the way for the Bees — with 26 of them coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“That was the goal from the get-go (winning the title),” Bethel coach Brett Kopp said. “The kids worked for it, especially with Caleb being out. But no one was going to feel sorry for us. We just battled, and everybody else just got better and better and better. Now, everyone is starting to really click playing together offensively.”
It was the second time in his career that South has scored 46 points — last year, he scored 46 in a 101-81 sectional final victory over Anna.
Ryan Rose added another 23 points and Alex Van Haaren had 11 points, 12 rebounds, eight blocked shots and four assists.
The Bees (16-3, 11-0 CCC) led throughout regulation, building a 37-26 halftime lead and a 59-50 advantage heading into the fourth. But the Patriots rallied and even led in the closing seconds before the Bees tied the score at 75-75 to force overtime — and Bethel took over from there, scoring 19 points in the four-minute overtime period.
“They had a chance to win it in regulation,” Kopp said. “But we did what championship teams do and found a way. These Bethel kids have battled for years, and we weren’t shocked that we were in for a fight. It was good for us to be challenged like that, and our kids played as hard as they possibly can.”
Bethel hosts Northmont Tuesday before finishing CCC play at home against Newton on Feb. 16.
Troy Christian 44,
Legacy Christian 36
TROY — Troy Christian’s seniors gave themselves the best sendoff imaginable.
The Eagle boys basketball team won its 14th straight game and finished off an undefeated season on their home floor Friday night, clinching at least a share of the Metro Buckeye Conference championship with a 44-36 Senior Night victory over Legacy Christian Friday at the Eagles’ Nest.
“What a big night for the seniors,” Troy Christian coach Ray Zawadzki said. “Senior Trent Huelskamp got the show rolling with a 3, and we never relinquished the lead from there. And when Legacy cut the lead to two in the fourth, Colt Tanner buried a 3 that extended the lead again.
“Every time Legacy made a run, we answered with a senior making a play. What a special night for all of them.”
The Eagles honored seniors James Anderson, Ben Schenk, Cameron Strine, Tanner, Huelskamp and Nathan Scott before the game. Schenk led the Eagles with 13 points and Anderson added a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds to lead Troy Christian (18-2, 12-1 MBC), which outscored Legacy Christian (14-6, 9-4 MBC) 16-10 in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Troy Christian’s defense also held the Knights to 27.5 percent from the field (14 for 51) and held the Knights’ leading scorer, Erik Uszynski, to only two points. Ashton Burke led all scorers with 19 points for Legacy Christian.
“Defensively, we were superior tonight,” Zawadzki said. “We did a great job on their leading scorer, holding him without a field goal on the night. I’m just really proud of all of my seniors. All six of them stepped up tonight.”
It’s the first league championship for the Eagles since the 2014-15 season. Troy Christian can win the MBC title outright with a victory at Middletown Christian on Feb. 16.
COVINGTON — Near the end of a disappointing season, the Covington Buccaneers were able to say goodbye to their seven seniors on a high note Friday night with a 65-56 Cross County Conference victory over visiting Newton.
Braden Miller led the Buccs (5-15, 4-7 CCC) with 18 points, Bradley Wiggins scored 13, Andrew Cates added eight and Zach Parrett and Nathan Lyle each scored six. And senior Jett Murphy, who was injured before the season began, was able to enter in the fourth quarter and hit a pair of free throws for his only two points this season.
Chet Jamison led the Indians (4-16, 1-10 CCC) — who defeated Covington 51-48 earlier this year — with a game-high 23 points and Treg Jackson added 18.
After hosting Bradford Saturday, Newton travels to Bethel Feb. 16. Covington, meanwhile, is back in action Feb. 16 at Mississinawa Valley.
GREENVILLE — Tippecanoe (12-7, 7-5 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) won its second straight game Friday night, jumping in front of Greenville early and never looking back in an 83-61 win on the road.
Caiden Smith scored 31 points to lead the Red Devils, who took a 24-10 lead after one quarter and built a 40-22 lead by halftime.
Tippecanoe finishes the regular season with a three-game homestand, hosting Fairborn Saturday, Troy Tuesday and Butler on Feb. 16.
Miss. Valley 48,
Miami East 45 OT
CASSTOWN — Miami East fought all the way back from an 18-point halftime deficit to force overtime with a last-second bucket on Senior Night Friday, but in the end Mississinawa Valley (9-12, 6-5 Cross County Conference) was able to regain the momentum in the extra period and hold on for a 48-45 win.
Dylan Hahn, who led the Vikings (8-12, 4-7 CCC) with 12 points, found Dalton Taynor on a back-door in-bounds play for the game-tying layup with one second left on the clock to tie the score at 40-40 and force overtime. Justin Brown then hit a 3 to give East the early lead, but the Blackhawks responded with back-to-back 3s to retake the lead and held on from there.
“It was a very heartbreaking loss,” Miami East coach Allen Mack said. “After being down 18, when Hahn found Taynor to tie the game and force overtime, the place just erutped. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make one more play than Mississinawa in the overtime.
“We dug ourselves a deep hole early, falling behind 30-12 at the half, but we changed up our defense in the second half and outscored them 15-2 in the third to get back into the game. It was a tough one, especially for the seniors after fighting back.”
After Hahn’s 12 points, Parker Heim, Taynor and Austin Kearns each scored six and Brown added five for the Vikings.
Ethan Bowman and D.J. Howell each scored 14 to lead Mississinawa.
After traveling to Lehman Saturday, Miami East travels to Franklin Monroe on Feb. 16.
DAYTON — Milton-Union’s losing streak hit 11 games Friday night as the Bulldogs (2-18, 0-11 Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division) lost 54-33 at Northridge.
William Morris had seven points to lead the Bulldogs, while Nathan Brumbaugh and Blake Ullery came off the bench to score six and five points, respectively.
Milton-Union travels to Arcanum Tuesday for the third game of a season-ending four-game road trip.
TC North 67,
LEWISBURG — Bradford’s Andy Branson scored 35 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Railroaders (1-18, 0-11 Cross County Conference) lost 67-60 at Tri-County North Friday night.
After traveling to Newton Saturday, Bradford hosts Houston Tuesday.
Other scores: Sidney 62, Piqua (8-12, 5-8 GWOC American North) 53. Perry 52, Lehman 47.
* Girls Basketball
VANDALIA — Tippecanoe’s girls basketball team finished off its second straight undefeated run through Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play Saturday, defeating Butler 56-34 to finish the regular season 20-2 and 15-0 in division play.
Maddie Frederick led the Red Devils with 19 points, Cali Stewart added 11, Claire Hinkle scored eight and Brooke Aselage added six as Tippecanoe led 18-5 after one quarter and 31-12 at halftime, coasting from there.
Tippecanoe opens sectional tournament play Thursday against Belmont at Tecumseh High School.
PLEASANT HILL — Newton’s Tatum McBride scored a game-high 25 points Saturday, one of five Indians in double figures as Newton (16-6) finished the regular season with a 71-30 victory over Graham.
Mallory Dunlevy added 12 points and Anna Wolfe, Brittany Oburn and Michaela Kirk each scored 10 points.
Newton has a first-round bye in the sectional tournament and will face the winner between Troy Christian and Tri-County North in the second round on Feb. 21 at Brookville.
Other scores: Miami East (18-4) 48, Northwestern 21.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.