By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
CASSTOWN — The Vikings’ fourth win in a row was easily their biggest.
The Miami East boys basketball team, which began the season 0-4, won its fourth straight to get back to the .500 mark Friday night at home, handing one of the Cross County Conference’s leaders, Twin Valley South, its first league loss in a 59-53 Viking victory.
Miami East improved to 4-4 on the season and 3-1 in the CCC, while Twin Valley South fell to 5-2 and 2-1 in the CCC. Coupled with Tri-Village’s loss at Mississinawa Valley on Friday night, it leaves no one without a loss in league play and a large traffic jam of teams tied with one loss apiece.
And the drama went beyond just the conference implications, too.
“This one certainly was not without drama,” Miami East coach Allen Mack said. “We led 32-12 just before halftime, and Twin Valley South came all the way back to tie it with a 3-pointer at 53-53. They kept their full-court pressure on, and Brendon Bertsch broke out of the pack and got a contested layup on the other end to help us regain the lead. We then got a stop on defense, Brendon got fouled and made both free throws and we got another stop and Parker Heim hit both free throws.”
The Vikings led 16-6 after the first quarter and 32-15 at halftime, then carried a 41-32 lead heading into the final quarter and never trailed in the game.
Will Hudson led East with 14 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double, and Heim scored 12 points — going 5 for 6 from the free throw line in the fourth as the Vikings were 15 for 19 in the game. Sam Zapadka scored nine and Wes Sutherly and Bertsch both finished with eight.
Miami East hosts Versailles Dec. 28.
BRADFORD — Even leading 19-5, Bethel coach Brett Kopp wasn’t completely pleased.
“We were up 19-5, but I wasn’t real happy with our play and execution in the first half,” he said. “We had a little discussion, and then we outscored them 53-12 in the second half. The kids responded, which is what we want.”
Bethel (5-3, 3-1 Cross County Conference) put away its second straight league win Friday night with an 83-27 victory at winless Bradford (0-8, 0-4 CCC).
Kendal James led three Bees in double figures with 21 points, while Nick Schmidt and Sean Russell each added 13 points, Ethan Rimkus had nine points and Dillon Kelly had eight points.
Bethel opens Piqua’s WPTW Classic tournament Thursday with a matchup against Troy Christian.
WEST MILTON — The Milton-Union Bulldogs dropped their fourth straight Friday night, keeping pace with visiting Madison throughout the first half but being outscored 28-17 in the second in a 52-36 loss.
Milton-Union (2-4, 1-2 Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division) was 13 for 48 (27.1 percent) from the field in the game and had no double-digit scorers. Nathan Brumbaugh led the way with seven points and four rebounds, Josh Woodell and Sam Case each had six points and Aaran Stone had five points and three assists.
“Our kids battled. It was a five-point game at halftime and we were playing real well defensively,” Milton-Union coach Rusty Berner said. “They (Madison) came out and did a fantastic job on us defensively. We kind of kept ourselves in the game but just didn’t knock down shots in the third quarter to keep it close. I was proud of our kids, though. Playing against a team like that, we battled. They’ll probably be state ranked when the rankings come out. We’ve just got to believe a bit more.”
Milton-Union will kick off Covington’s holiday tournament on Dec. 28 with a chance at payback against Newton.
TIPP CITY — A big third quarter by Butler did Tippecanoe in Friday night in Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play, with the Aviators outscoring the Red Devils 23-14 in the third en route to a 60-44 victory at Tippecanoe.
Ben Sauls had 14 points to lead the Red Devils and Nolan Mader added 12, but no one else had more than six as Tippecanoe (2-4, 2-4 GWOC American North) committed 26 turnovers while only forcing 16.
Tippecanoe travels to Tecumseh Dec. 28.
Other scores: Arcanum 64, Covington (2-4, 2-2 CCC) 48. Lehman (2-1, 2-0 NWCC) 46, Riverside 44.
* Girls Basketball
WEST MILTON — After her lowest scoring effort of the season, Kristen Dickison bounced back with her fourth 30-point game of the year, leading the Milton-Union girls basketball team to a 69-23 victory over visiting Northridge Saturday.
Dickison finished with 31 points to lead the Bulldogs (5-3, 4-2 Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division), Rachel Thompson added 12 points, Morgan Grudich scored nine, Olivia Brown added eight and Taylor Falb chipped in seven.
Milton-Union takes on Newton in the first day of Covington’s holiday tournament on Dec. 28.
BRANDT — The Newton Indians won their second straight after a three-game losing streak Saturday, putting together a strong second half to claim a 34-31 Cross County Conference win at Bethel.
Camryn Gleason scored 10 points to lead the Indians (4-5, 3-2 CCC), who trailed 14-11 after one and 23-17 at halftime. Newton outscored Bethel (5-4, 2-3 CCC) 7-4 in the third and 10-5 in the fourth, though, to rally and pick up the win. Eight different Indians scored on the day, with Maddie Hildebrand and Mallory Dunlevy both adding six points to help lead the way.
McKenna Gray led all scorers with 15 points for Bethel, Natalie Moorman added seven and Sam Wiley scored six.
Newton will take on Milton-Union to open Covington’s holiday tournament on Dec. 28, while Bethel hosts Meadowdale on Dec. 29.
Other scores: Troy Christian (7-1) 40, Catholic Central 34.
SPRINGBORO — The Troy hockey team opened play in the Dayton Mayor’s Cup Friday at South Metro with an 8-2 loss to rival Beavercreek.
Ian Kuntz had both of the Trojans’ goals, with Zach Uhlenbrock picking up two assists and Jack McGuirk with one assist as Troy (4-5, 2-2 Southwest Ohio High School Hockey League) was outshot 30-16.
Troy faced Alter Saturday night in the second round and will close out play Sunday morning against Centerville.
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.