By Colin Foster
TROY — The Division IV sectional final game between No. 1 seed Tri-Village and No. 4 Bethel was everything people should have expected between two state ranked teams Friday night.
But when all was said and done, it was the Patriots’ ability to counter every Bethel punch that allowed them walk away with 51-41 victory in front of a packed house at the Trojan Activities Center.
“I just have to give the credit to them,” Bethel coach Eric Glover said. “They came out and they played a great game. All of their big boys stepped up and played hard tonight. They’re a well coached team, and they showed why the are the No. 1 seed.”
Tri-Village went into the halftime with a 21-16 lead, but the Bees would cut that deficit to one point on three separate occasions in the third quarter, led by Christian Hagen’s eight points in that span … but T-V never relinquished the lead — a trend that stuck throughout the game.
In the fourth, the Patriots opened up a 40-33 lead, before Bethel looked poised to put one final run together. Back-to-back turnovers forced by the Bees led to four quick points for Patrick Bain and cut the lead down to three with 2:40 left on the clock. That, however, was the closest the Bees would get as the Pats closed out the game on a 11-4 run to earn a return trip to district.
Tri-Village hit 14 out of 23 free throw attempts in the final period. Damion Cook led the way for the Pats with 15 points, Colton Linkous had 13 and big man Tyler Cook added 11.
Bain led the Bees with a game-high 20, including 11 in the fourth quarter. Hagen scored 13, before fouling out midway through the fourth.
The loss may be a bitter pill to swallow for Bethel players and fans now, but the fact of the matter is that Bethel has nothing to hang their heads about … They just came up on the short end of the stick against an experienced team that has been a perennial power in Division IV for the last several years.
The Bees finished the year with 20 wins and four losses, which came at the hands of Tri-Village (0-2), Dayton Christian and Miami East. The team loses five seniors to graduation in Bain, who played four years on varsity, Hagen, Christian Pfledderer, Jason Clendening and Aaron Bozarth.
“If somebody told us at the beginning of the year that we would go 20-4, we would have took it,” Glover said. “It’s important for us to keep our heads up high, and understand that we did our best tonight.
“I told those seniors in there that I love them like my own sons … I’ve been coaching a long time and I’ve never had a group of kids that I’ve had so much respect for. I have so much respect for those kids; they grind, they get after it, they work hard, they wanted this so bad — and I wanted this for them.”
Bethel — 41
Bain 5-10-20, Pfledderer 3-0-6, Hagen 5-1-13, Clendening 1-0-2, Evan Hawthorne 0-0-0, Kurt Hamlin 0-0-0, Julian Brooks 0-0-0. Totals: 14-11-41.
Tri-Village — 51
Tyler VanWinkle 2-2-8, Bell 0-0-0, D. Cook 6-3-15, Linkous 3-7-13, T. Cook 3-5-11, Mason McCabe 1-0-2. Totals: 15-17-51.
Score By Quarters
Bethel6 16 28 41
T-V10 21 32 51
3-point goals: Bethel — Hagen (2). Tri-Village — VanWinkle.
Colin Foster may be reached at 937-440-5208 or followed on Twitter @colinfosterbg or @Troydailynews