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Chiefs lock down Falcons

Bellefontaine grinds out 41-24 win

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Bellefontaine’s Max Oyer goes in for a layup during Tuesday’s home game against Graham. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)

One constant for Bellefontaine’s boys basketball team this season has been good defense. Graham is the latest team to struggle scoring points against the Chiefs.

Bellefontaine, which has the top ranked defensive unit in the Central Buckeye Conference at 45 points per game, frustrated the visiting Falcons on Tuesday night for a 41-24 victory.

The win moves Bellefontaine to 10-8 on the season. The Falcons fall to 10-9.

It was a little bit of redemption for the Chiefs, who were knocked out of tournament play by the Falcons in each of the last two seasons.

“Graham is a very good team,” said Bellefontaine head coach Henry Stolly. “They have a lot of the pieces they had from those teams we saw the last two years and they still have that same Graham grit to them. It feels good to get a win as we try to build some confidence down the stretch.”

The Falcons could not solve the Chiefs’ defense. Guard Grant Goddard, who came in averaging 15 points per game, was limited to seven points.

Bellefontaine has now held five opponents to 35 points or lower this winter.

“I thought our defense was very good tonight,” said Stolly. “We were able to do a good job of covering up their shooters and we played with good energy.”

Bellefontaine’s defensive success has been due in large part to its versatility. The Chiefs like to show both a man-to-man and a zone, and have been effective in either look.

“We are pretty long at the forward positions and that really helps,” said Stolly. “We can play different combinations and we can change up our defenses on different possessions. I think the ability to switch up our defenses has been a key for us.”

Bellefontaine’s offense was solid as well. The Chiefs shot 46 percent from the field.

Bellefontaine never trailed against the Falcons. The Chiefs led 9-4 after one quarter and 16-10 at halftime.

The Chiefs stretched their lead to 12 points (27-15) at the end of the third period and their advantage continued to grow in the final quarter.

Logan Mitchell paced a balanced Bellefontaine scoring attack with 10 points. Tristin Tillman had nine points, Jake Kennedy collected eight points, eight rebounds and six assists and A.J. Gorham added six points.

Bellefontaine again played without senior guard Matt Gump. He returned last week against Wellington School but has sat out the last two games because of lingering pain in his shooting hand.

Goddard’s seven points were the most for a Graham player.

Bellefontaine also won the junior varsity and freshman games Tuesday.

The reserve squad defeated the Falcons 50-32. Dorion Hughes led the Chiefs with 13 points.

In the freshman game, Bellefontaine rolled to a 52-20 win. Jacob Rogan led Bellefontaine with 17 points.

The Chiefs return to action Thursday at home against Tecumseh.

BELLEFONTAINE 41, GRAHAM 24

GRAHAM (10-9)

Allen 1 3-4 5; Hanlin 1 0-0 2; Thomas 1 0-0 2; Lowery 3 0-0 6; Goddard 2 2-4 7; Springer 1 0-0 2. Totals: 9 5-8 24.

BELLEFONTAINE (10-8)

A. Gorham 1 4-4 6; Oyer 2 1-2 5; Kennedy 3 0-0 8; Tillman 4 1-2 9; S. Gorham 1 0-0 3; L. Mitchell 3 4-4 10. Totals: 14 10-12 41.

Falcons    4    6    5    9      —     24

Chiefs    9    7    11    14    —    41

Three pointers: Graham 1 (Goddard); Bellefontaine 3 (Kennedy 2, S. Gorham). Rebounds: Bellefontaine 23 (Kennedy 8). Assists: Bellefontaine 9 (Kennedy 6). Steals: Bellefontaine 8 (Tillman 3). Turnovers: Graham 10; Bellefontaine 14. Team fouls: Graham 12; Bellefontaine 10.

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