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Bulldogs wear out Chiefs down the stretch

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Bellefontaine’s Tristin Tillman takes a shot during the first half of Friday’s season-opening game at Celina. (Examiner Photo/Matt Hammond)

By MATT HAMMOND
Examiner Sports Editor
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CELINA — Celina’s relentless full-court pressure defense eventually took a toll on Bellefontaine’s boys basketball team here Friday night.

After a strong showing through three quarters, Bellefontaine wilted against the aggressive Bulldog attack in the final quarter for a 70-57 loss in the season opener.

The Chiefs led by seven points (42-35) midway through the third quarter, but Celina closed the game with a 35-15 run.

“They ran a lot of guys at us and I felt like we got a little fatigued there at the end of the game,” said Bellefontaine head coach Henry Stolly. “We are not in the best condition right now. We were pretty banged up in the preseason and are still trying to get in shape. Their pressure wore us down in the second half.”

With an in-your-face defensive mentality, the Bulldogs take pride in forcing the opponent into mistakes, but Bellefontaine was able to weather the storm early on.

Bellefontaine, which suffered 16 turnovers on the night, fell behind by seven points in the first quarter before closing to within two (19-17) at the end of the period.

The Chiefs moved in front by two points on two different occasions in the second quarter. Bellefontaine had to settle for a tie (29-29) at halftime.

The second half started with promise for the visitors. Led by the play of senior guard Matt Gump and junior guard A.J. Gorham, Bellefontaine opened up a seven-point cushion at the 4:31 mark of the third quarter.

However, Celina answered with an 11-2 spurt to lead by two points (46-44) entering the fourth quarter.

Gorham drilled a three-pointer at the start of the final period to give Bellefontaine a 47-46 lead, but it was all Bulldogs from there.

Celina scored seven straight points to grab control of the game. The Bulldogs put it away with stellar free-throw shooting.

On the night, the Bulldogs hit 29-of-33 foul shots for an 88-percent effort.

“Great teams are normally great free-throw shooters,” said Stolly. “They got a lot of free throws and they had a lot of makes.”

Matt Buschur, a 6-4 senior forward, was a handful for Bellefontaine in the second half. The physical Buschur scored all of his team-high 17 points over the final two quarters. Nine of those points came at the foul line.

“We got out of position at times and they did a good job finding him,” said Stolly. “(Buschur) was a man inside in the second half.”

Gump led Bellefontaine with a game-high 19 points. A.J. Gorham came off the bench to score 13 points and Max Oyer also was in double figures with 13 points.

Jake Kennedy added eight points for Bellefontaine.

Bellefontaine played without sophomore center Caleb Mitchell, who is still recovering from a foot injury that kept him out of the entire football season.

In the junior varsity game, Celina pulled out a 50-43 win in double overtime. Daniel Boy led the Chiefs with 18 points.

Celina won the freshman contest 50-30. Andrew Mitchell scored seven points for Bellefontaine.

The Chiefs return to action Friday at home against Springfield Shawnee.

CELINA 70, BELLEFONTAINE 57

BELLEFONTAINE (0-1)

Gump 4 8-8 19; A. Gorham 4 2-4 13; Oyer 5 0-0 10; Kennedy 3 0-1 8; Tillman 2 0-0 4; L. Mitchell 1 1-2 3. Totals: 19 11-15 57.

CELINA (1-0)

Bader 1 4-4 6; Billger 2 10-10 14; Buschur 4 9-12 17; Hoyng 6 2-2 15; Ross 3 0-4 6; Fickert 4 4-4 12. Totals: 20 29-33 70.

Chiefs    17    12    15       13  —  57

Bulldogs    19    10    17     24    —    70

Three pointers: Bellefontaine 8 (Gump 3, A. Gorham 3, Kennedy 2); Celina 1 (Hoyng). Turnovers: Bellefontaine 16; Celina 10. Team fouls: Bellefontaine 19; Celina 16.


Ben Logan jolted by M’burg in Tip-Off Classic

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Benjamin Logan’s Jordan Sosby goes up for a shot against a Mechanicsburg defender during the first quarter of their gameFriday at the Ben Logan Tip-Off Classic. (Examiner Photo/Aaron LaBatt)

By AARON LaBATT
EXAMINER STAFF WRITER
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Not everyone likes surprises.

Benjamin Logan’s boys basketball team certainly did not Friday after visiting Mechanicsburg delivered one after another during a first-round matchup at the Ben Logan Tip-Off Classic.

By the time the Raiders got settled in, it was too late and the Indians had come away with a 66-54 victory.

“We didn’t prepare as well for them as we could have,” said Ben Logan head coach Dave Myers. “The pace of the game caught us off guard, their length surprised us and so did their half-court press.

“We were in it early, but it got away from us quickly it seemed like. I told the guys I feel better about tonight than I did a year ago at our tournament, though. We didn’t let them get away from us and get to 30 points. We made better adjustments at halftime.”

Ben Logan now faces Riverside in tonight’s consolation game at 6 p.m.

On Friday, Ben Logan and Mechanicsburg battled back and forth in the opening quarter with M’burg taking an 18-13 lead.

Then the second quarter turned into a nightmare for the Raiders.

Cole Saylor hit a three-point shot to trim Mechanicsburg’s lead to four at 24-20 with 4:40 left until halftime.

The Indians followed with a 17-2 run, including 15 unanswered points. They entered halftime with a 41-22 advantage.

“That second quarter really snowballed on us,” said Myers. “They were rebounding well and forcing us into quick shots. We gave them second or third-chance shots and got ourselves in a hole.”

Ben Logan got back on track in the second half. The Raiders outscored Mechanicsburg 18-14 in the third quarter, but still trailed 55-40. They also outscored the Indians 14-11 in the fourth quarter, but never threatened.

“I thought we did a better job in the second half of handling the boards,” said Myers. “We left nine points at the free throw line and had 28 turnovers. I can live with some of those in transition, but can’t have that many.

“I know these kids and we’ll get better. We’ll come out (tonight) and be better and play better.”

Blaine Ricketts fueled the Ben Logan offense with 17 points, Dalton Greene had 13 points and Jordan Sosby added 10 points.

MECHANICSBURG 66, BEN LOGAN 54

MECHANICSBURG (1-0)

Frost 0 4-6 4; Brogan 4 0-2 12; Welch 7 1-5 15; Purk 8 3-3 20; Marsh 1 2-4 4; Callicoat 5 0-0 11. Totals: 25 10-21 66.

BEN LOGAN (0-1)

Wenger 2 3-4 7; Sosby 3 3-6 10; Rader 0 2-4 2; Ricketts 7 0-0 17; Saylor 1 0-1 3; Ahle 1 0-0 2; Greene 4 5-7 13. Totals: 18 13-22 54.

Indians    18    23    14        11  — 66

Raiders    13    9    18       14      —    54

Three pointers: Ben Logan 5 (Ricketts 3, Sosby, Saylor); Mechanicsburg 3 (Brogan, Purk, Callicoat). Team fouls: Ben Logan 17; Mechanicsburg 19.


Botkins holds off Riverside

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Riverside’s Dalton Bollinger fights a Botkins player for control of the basketball during the fourth quarter of their game Friday at the Ben Logan Tip-Off Classic. (Examiner Photo/Aaron LaBatt)

By AARON LaBATT
EXAMINER STAFF WRITER
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The chief concern for Riverside’s boys basketball team entering the season was its lack of varsity experience. That proved to be a problem for the Pirates in Friday’s opener.

The Pirates returned just two players with varsity experience this season and that inexperience showed itself on the court Friday as Botkins held on to top Riverside 52-48 in the first round of the Benjamin Logan Tip-Off Classic.

“Our inexperience in really critical situations got us tonight,” said RHS head coach Don Epps. “We couldn’t handle that pressure and slow the game down when we needed to. When you have that experience you can do that. It’s a learning process.”

Riverside (0-1) faces Benjamin Logan in tonight’s consolation game at 6 p.m.

The two teams met in the championship game of the Tip-Off Classic last season, with Botkins pulling out another close one, 46-42.

“To be that close again in this game with our inexperience and have a shot at winning against a Shelby County school is a testament to these kids,” said Epps. “All the mistakes we had tonight are correctible. The passing, the rebounding and the other little things are all things we can fix easily.”

Botkins jumped out to a 13-6 lead after the first quarter. Riverside continued to hang around in the second quarter and trailed by 10 (27-17) at halftime.

The Trojans showcased their talent from the perimeter, especially in the second half. They hit eight three pointers.

“They hit a very high percentage of three pointers,” said Epps. “You don’t go into a game thinking you are going to lose because they made over 50 percent of their three-point shots. At one point in the first half I think they had more three pointers than two pointers.”

The Pirates continued to battle back in the second half and outscored the Trojans 13-9 in the third quarter. That cut Botkins’ lead to 36-30.

Riverside tried to keep the momentum going in the fourth quarter. The Pirates outscored the Trojans 18-16, but it wasn’t enough to gain the lead.

“The kids didn’t give up,” said Epps. “We were down 10 at halftime and came back to within four in the second half. We may have lost, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort. We are happy with what the kids gave us tonight. We’ll come back (tonight) and try to fix those mistakes.”

Dalton Bollinger led the Pirates with 14 points, Luke Greene had nine points and Jacob Herron and Grant Miller each had eight points.

BOTKINS 52, RIVERSIDE 48

RIVERSIDE (0-1)
Greene 4 0-0 9; Bollinger 5 4-4 14; Daniels 1 0-0 2; Herron 2 2-2 8; Shough 1 0-0 3; Mechling 2 0-0 4; Miller 3 2-4 8. Totals: 18 8-10 48.

BOTKINS (1-0)
Miller 1 1-2 4; Hoying 2 3-6 7; Goubeaux 1 0-0 3; Geyer 3 5-7 14; Schwartz 8 0-0 19; Lawrence 2 0-0 5. Totals: 16 9-15 52.
Pirates    6    11    13    18  — 48
Trojans    13    14    9    16    —    52

Three pointers: Riverside 4 (Herron 2, Greene, Shough); Botkins 8 (Schwartz 3, Geyer 2, Goubeaux, Hoying, Miller). Turnovers: Riverside 19; Botkins 6. Team fouls: Riverside 14; Botkins 11.


Wildcats swarm Lakers, get 74-48 victory

Kenton took command early and host Indian Lake could not shake free as the Lakers fell 74-48 in Friday’s season-opening contest.

The Wildcats’ offense caught fire early and led 25-13 after the opening quarter. The Wildcats led 40-30 at halftime.

Kenton stretched its lead to 21 points (62-41) at the end of the third period.

Brennon Lump led the Lakers with 12 points and Jalon Tuttle had 10 points.

Kenton won the junior varsity game 43-26. Cody Bowles led the Lakers with 17 points.

In the freshman game, Indian Lake rolled to a 58-21 win, with Beau Heffner scoring 15 points for the winners.

Indian Lake travels to Wapakoneta today for a non-league contest.

KENTON 74, INDIAN LAKE 48
KENTON (1-0)
Sherman 10 2-4 22; Blackford 4 3-5 13; Phillips 3 5-6 11; Halsey 4 2-2 12; Downing 2 0-0 6; Bale 3 0-0 6; Coleman 1 0-0 2; Furbush 1 0-1 2. Totals: 28 12-18 74.
INDIAN LAKE (0-1)
Lump 5 1-2 12; Tuttle 3 3-5 10; Grider 2 4-4 9; Wurster 3 0-1 8; Reichert 1 3-4 5; Roby 1 0-0 2; Teague 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 11-16 48.
Wildcats    25    15    22    12  — 74
Lakers    13    17    11    7    —    48

Three pointers: Kenton 6 (Blackford 2, Halsey 2, Downing 2); Indian Lake 5 (Wurster 2, Grider, Tuttle, Lump). Rebounds: Indian Lake 13 (Grider 3, Reichert 3). Team fouls: Kenton 20; Indian Lake 16.


Springfield Shawnee pulls out win over WL-Salem in opener

West Liberty-Salem’s boys basketball team fought tooth and nail Friday, but came up short to visiting Springfield Shawnee 54-46 in the season opener.
The Tigers trailed just 38-35 at the end of the third quarter, but saw the Braves pull out the win in the fourth quarter.

Shawnee, last year’s Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail division champion, emerged with a one-point lead (13-12) after the opening quarter.
The Braves went on a 17-4 run in the second quarter to take a 30-16 advantage at halftime.

WL-Salem put together a run of its own in the third quarter, outscoring Shawnee 19-8. That cut the Braves’ lead to three entering the final period.
Springfield Shawnee fought off the Tigers in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

Grant Burden paced the Tigers with 15 points, Landon Hormann had 13 points and Max Bailey added 12 points.

The Braves won the junior varsity game 50-40. Michael McIntosh led the Tigers with 13 points and Brandon Adams had 12 points.

WL-Salem travels to Graham on Tuesday in a non-league matchup.

SPRING. SHAWNEE 54, WL-SALEM 46

SPRING. SHAWNEE (1-0)

Tincher 2 3-5 8; Barnett 1 2-3 4; Greenwood 2 2-3 6; Williams 10 4-6 25; Elliott 0 1-2 1; Sawyer 4 1-2 10. Totals: 19 13-21 54.

WL-SALEM (0-1)

Bailey 4 0-0 12; Mayse 2 0-2 4; B. Burden 0 2-2 2; G. Burden 4 5-6 15; Hormann 4 5-6 13. Totals: 14 12-16 46.

Braves    13    17    8       16   — 54

Tigers    12    4    19    11     —    46


Gophers come up short in opener

Mt. Gilead clawed out a 56-52 victory over host Ridgemont on Friday in a non-league contest.

The Indians took an early 20-14 lead in the first quarter and outscored the Gophers 14-12 in the second quarter. That gave the host a 34-26 edge at halftime.

Mt. Gilead was four points better in the third quarter (10-6) to take a 44-32 lead.

Ridgemont attempted to rally in the fourth quarter with a 20-12 run, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Indians.

Tyler Tillman paced the Gophers with 18 points, five assists and two steals, while Tim Cowan had 15 points and six rebounds and Josh Corbin had 11 points.

Ridgemont hosts Lehman Catholic today in another non-league contest.

MT. GILEAD 56  RIDGEMONT 52

RIDGEMONT (0-1)

Tillman 5 9-11 18; Cowan 7 1-2 15; Corbin 5 1-2 11; Seiler 2 2-2 6; Eversole 0 2-2 2. Totals: 19 15-19 52.

Gophers    14    12    6     20  —52

Indians    20    14    10    12    —56

Three pointers: Ridgemont 1 (Tillman). Rebounds: Ridgemont 21 (Cowan 6, Corbin 6). Assists: Ridgemont 14 (Tillman 5). Steals: Ridgemont 4 (Tillman 2). Turnovers: Ridgemont 14.


Slow start plagues Cardinals against Fairbanks

A slow start by Triad’s boys basketball team helped visiting Fairbanks record a 53-46 non-league win over the Cardinals on Friday.

The Panthers coasted to a 16-5 lead in the opening quarter. They went on to outscore the Cardinals 13-9 in the second quarter to lead 29-14 at halftime.

Triad bounced back in the third quarter with a 20-12 run to cut Fairbanks’ lead to five (41-36).

The Panthers refused to crumble, though, hanging on down the stretch in the season opener for both teams.

Chris Nott led Triad’s offense with 14 points and Doug Lowe had 13 points.

Fairbanks won the junior varsity game 56-39.

Triad is back in action today at home against Waynesfield-Goshen in non-league action.

FAIRBANKS 53, TRIAD 46

FAIRBANKS (1-0)

Regula 0 2-4 2; Van Gorden 0 1-2 1; Adkins 4 0-1 8; Nicol 3 0-2 8; Burnett 1 1-2 3; Follmer 4 2-6 10; Gibson 7 1-2 15; Wilson 3 0-0 6. Totals: 22 7-19 53.

TRIAD (0-1)

Walker 1 0-0 3; Aler 0 0-0 0; Rapp 4 3-6 17; Patterson 6 3-3 16; Holycross 11 2-3 24; Anderson 0 0-0 0; Ling 0 0-0 0; Purnell 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 8-12 57.

Panthers    16    13    12    12  — 53

Cardinals    5    9    20    10    —    46

Three pointers: Fairbanks 2 (Nicol 2); Triad 4 (Nott 3, S. Donohoe). Turnovers: Fairbanks 18; Triad 21. Team fouls: Fairbanks 24; Triad 19.

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