By Josh Brown
NEW PARIS — In their toughest Cross County Conference matchup of the season, the Bethel Bees needed to find a new way to win.
And they did just that.
The Bethel boys basketball team (11-1, 8-0 CCC) held off a tough challenge from an inspired National Trail team Friday night, buckling down on defense and doing just enough on offense to hang on for a 58-53 victory on the road to remain in the driver’s seat in the conference.
“We’ve been pretty prolific offensively, and I keep telling the kids that there’s going to be a game where where not shooting well but we’ve still got to win,” Bethel coach Brett Kopp said. “In the first and fourth quarters, we defended, well, it’s probably the best defense we’ve had since I’ve been coach here.
“My assistant said ‘we’re 11-1, we’ve won 10 games based on our offense — and now we’ve won one based on our defense. We can score, but you can’t just depend on that. You’ve got to be able to defend, and we defended.”
Bethel took a 17-9 lead after the first quarter, but the Blazers cut that lead to 26-22 at halftime and even took a 41-35 lead going into the fourth quarter. But the Bees outscored them 23-12 in the final quarter to pull away for the win.
Caleb South led the Bees with a double-double on the night with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Tyler Terry added 11 points and some big defensive plays late, Jacob Evans scored six, Ryan Rose had five and Ian Anderson had four points, five assists and four rebounds.
Bethel plays in the Flyin’ to the Hoop tournament at Trent Arena Monday, facing Roger Bacon.
WAYNESVILLE — Milton-Union (2-6, 1-5 Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division) got payback for a blowout loss earlier this season on its own floor, traveling to Waynesville Friday night to pick up a 54-53 victory.
Blake Smith held Waynesville’s Noah Price — who entered the game as one of the division’s top two scorers — to only 11 points on the night while adding nine points and four assists. And Caleb Wintrow had the big offensive game for the Bulldogs, hitting six 3-pointers and scoring a game-high 18 points.
William Morris added nine points, Blake Ullery scored seven and Zach Vagedes had six.
Troy Christian 62,
Middletown Chr. 37
TROY — Troy Christian won its fifth straight Friday night, outscoring Middletown Christian 38-18 in the second half to put away a 62-37 Metro Buckeye Conference victory.
James Anderson had another double-double with 20 points and 19 rebounds, while Ben Schenk hit four 3s and scored 15 points. Peyton Spurlock added seven and Connor Case, Seth Wynne and Jacob Brown each scored five.
“Our gameplan was to wear Middletown Christian out,” Troy Christian coach Ray Zawadzki said. “Peyton Spurlock scored the final six points of the third quarter to give us a 10-point lead, and we went on a 26-5 run to blow the game open. We put a lot of pressure on early in the game, and near the end of the third you could sense that our kids had more energy than theirs did, and we were able to take it to the next level.”
RIVERSIDE — Troy (4-7, 2-5 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) dropped its second straight for the first time since the season’s opening week, falling at Stebbins 63-57 in GWOC American League crossover play.
Four players for Stebbins (8-4, 4-3 GWOC American South) were in double figures, handing the Trojans their first loss in a weekend game since their season’s opening night loss to Greenville.
Troy returns to action Tuesday night at St. Marys in non-league play before returning home Jan. 20 to host Trotwood.
FAIRBORN — Tippecanoe dropped its third straight Friday night, getting outscored in the fourth quarter 24-13 by Fairborn to drop a 57-45 loss in Greater Western Ohio Conference American League crossover play.
Zach Bonifas led all scorers with 19 points for the Red Devils (4-8, 2-5 GWOC American North Division) and Caiden Smith followed that with nine points.
Other scores: Bradford 37, Mississinawa Valley 27. Arcanum 69, Newton 47. Xenia 77, Piqua 75. Lehman 54, Riverside 48.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.