By Josh Brown
SPRINGFIELD — As the closing moments of his debut ticked away, first-year Bethel boys basketball coach Brett Kopp was on edge.
He needn’t have worried, though. His Bees had things under control.
Caleb South scored a game-high 33 points Tuesday night as Bethel grabbed control with a solid second quarter and didn’t let go in a 59-48 victory in its season opener.
“I was a little nervous there at the end, but I’ve been nervous in every game I’ve ever coached,” Kopp said. “But the kids were playing well and playing with confidence.”
South, who had a big freshman season last year, led the way, but he was not alone. Fellow veterans Tyler Terry added 10 points, Nate Rimkus scored nine and Ian Anderson scored six.
“They’ve got some experience,” Kopp said. “These guys have been through some battles. They’ve got the experience, and I’m the inexperienced one. But they played their tails off.
“Caleb was attacking the glass, got a lot of transition buckets, and early on they were giving him open jumpers and he was knocking them down.”
With the score tied 13-13 after the first quarter, Bethel outscored Northeastern 18-6 in the second to take a 31-19 lead at the half. Northeastern cut the deficit by four after three quarters, but the Bees finished strong.
“We had a lot of foul trouble tonight, and we only really had eight healthy guys,” Kopp said. “And two of those guys played through foul trouble all night long, but they played well.”
Bethel remains on the road Friday night for its Cross County Conference opener — a big early-season showdown against Franklin Monroe.
* Girls Basketball
Newton 58, NT 42
PLEASANT HILL — Three Indians were in double figures Tuesday night as the Newton girls basketball team overcame a slow start to put away National Trail 58-42 in its Cross County Conference opener at home.
Madison Mollette, Tatum McBride and Elizabeth Carroll each scored 12 points to lead Newton, while Kaylee Kesler added eight points.
Newton remained undefeated at 3-0, 1-0 in the CCC, heading into a big test on Thursday when Indians will host unbeaten Tri-Village.
M-U 65, TVS 34
WEST ALEXANDRIA — Milton-Union’s defense didn’t allow Twin Valley South any room to work Tuesday night, helping the Bulldogs claim a 65-34 victory on the road.
Beyonce Bobbitt had 12 points and three rebounds, while Kristen Dickison had 12 points, 11 rebounds and three assists — and both girls had six steals apiece as the Panthers only managed 11 first-half points, giving the Bulldogs a 38-11 edge at the break.
Taylor Jacobs added nine points, six rebounds and three blocks and Liz Renner had eight points, 10 rebounds and five blocks as Milton-Union won the battle of the boards 52-28. Olivia Brown added eight points, Madeline Brown, Michaela Fullmer and Bri Stone each had four and Jordan Pricer scored two.
Milton-Union returns home Thursday, hosting Preble Shawnee in its Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division opener.
Arcanum 39, Bradford 29
BRADFORD — Bradford’s Mandi Bates scored 16 points, but in the end it wasn’t enough as the Railroaders (2-3, 1-2 Cross County Conference) fell to visiting Arcanum (3-2, 1-1 CCC) 39-29 Tuesday night.
Mackenzie Weldy added 11 points, five rebounds and two steals for Bradford, which travels to Covington Thursday.
Other scores: Tri-Village (4-0, 3-0 CCC) 47, Covington (3-2, 1-1 CCC) 40.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.