By Josh Brown
BRANDT — Bethel’s defense was locked in Thursday night.
Coach Mark Mays knows it needs to be.
The Bethel girls basketball team improved to 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in Cross County Conference play Thursday, holding Franklin Monroe (0-4, 0-3 CCC) scoreless in the first quarter and to a mere four points over the course of the first 24 minutes, putting away a 35-20 victory at home.
“Our defense has been stepping up lately,” Mays said. “We preach that. We know we have to play good defense to be successful, that’s all there is to it.”
Alaina Hawthorn led the offense with 13 points, while Morgan Crase and Kristin Bowman each scored seven for the Bees, who led 6-0 after one quarter, 19-2 at halftime and 25-4 after three quarters.
“Everyone on the roster got into the game, and the more experience we all get, the better the program gets,” Mays said.
Bethel hosts Troy Monday.
ME 55, Arcanum 43
CASSTOWN — Miami East had three players in double figures Thursday night as the Vikings remained unbeaten in Cross County Conference play with a 55-43 victory over a tough Arcanum (3-3, 1-2 CCC) team.
Haley Howard led the Vikings (3-1, 2-0 CCC) with 19 points, scoring 11 of those in the third quarter alone to help Miami East take control for good. Freshman Morgan Haney added 15 points and Kyndall Hellyer scored eight of her 11 points in the first half to keep the Vikings within striking distance.
Miami East faces a big CCC test Tuesday, hosting Newton.
M-U 41, PS 35
WEST MILTON — Entering Thursday night, Milton-Union had lost all seven meetings with Preble Shawnee over the last three seasons, including a tournament game two years ago.
But the Bulldogs ended that drought Thursday night in their Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division opener, playing tough defense and finishing strong in the fourth quarter to claim a 41-35 victory at home.
Taylor Jacobs led the Bulldogs (4-2, 1-0 SWBL Buckeye) with nine points and five rebounds, Beyonce Bobbitt added eight points and four assists, Kristen Dickison had seven points, seven rebounds and four assists and Jordan Pricer added five points.
The score was tied at 20-20 at halftime after Preble Shawnee (0-2, 0-1) outscored Milton-Union 11-4 in the second quarter. But the Bulldogs grabbed a slim 32-31 lead after three quarters and outscored the Arrows 9-4 in the fourth to hold on.
Next up for the Bulldogs is another big SWBL test against Madison on Saturday.
COVINGTON — The Covington Buccaneers bounced back from two straight losses to quality teams, building a 12-point halftime lead and then pulling away late for a 52-25 Cross County Conference victory over visiting Bradford Thursday night.
Jessie Crowell led Covington (4-2, 2-1 CCC) with 15 points and seven rebounds, Carly Shell added 10 points and Sammy Whiteman added nine.
Mandi Bates was the lone player in double figures for Bradford (2-4, 1-3 CCC), scoring a game-high 16 points.
Both teams are back in action Dec. 10, with Bradford hosting Miami East and Covington traveling to Franklin Monroe.
TV 51, Newton 43
PLEASANT HILL — Three Patriots were in double figures Thursday night as Tri-Village (5-0, 4-0 Cross County Conference) handed the Newton Indians their first loss of the season, 51-43.
Madison Mollette scored 12 points and Mallory Dunlevy added 10 to lead Newton (3-1, 1-1 CCC), with Tatum McBride adding seven points.
Danika Mann scored 14 to lead Tri-Village, Shelbey Dowler had 12 and Allie Downing added 10 as the Patriots hit seven 3s in the game.
Newton faces another big CCC test Tuesday, traveling to Miami East.
MV 47, TC 27
TROY — Troy Christian kept pace with undefeated Miami Valley for a quarter, but the Eagles were outscored 17-8 in the second quarter and Miami Valley finished the fourth quarter on a 14-2 run to grab a 47-27 Metro Buckeye Conference victory Thursday.
Kathryn Lee led the Eagles with 14 points, the only Troy Christian player to score more than four.
Troy Christian (2-1, 0-1 MBC) will look to bounce back Saturday against Temple Christian.
Troy Girls Remain
URBANA — The Troy girls bowling team improved to 4-0 on the season Thursday, sweeping a tri-meet at Urbana by rolling a 2,754 to Mechanicsburg’s 2,537 and Urbana’s 2,321. The Trojan boys, meanwhile, split on the day, rolling a 2,658 to Urbana’s 2.957 and Mechanicsburg’s 2,446.
Jenna Stone led the Troy girls with 207-214—421 — one of three Trojans to roll a 400 series. Kristen McMullen rolled a 173-234—407, Rachel Darrow rolled 172-231—403, A’leigha Smith rolled 199-180—379, Alyssa Shilt added a 203 game and Jennica Funderburg a 163.
Aaron Stone led the Troy boys (1-3) with a consistent day, rolling 190-205—395. Hayden Jackson rolled 211-165—376, A.J. Kendall rolled 206-162—368, Jason Shiltz rolled 201-153—354 and Landon Flory rolled 143-144—287.
Both Troy teams will compete in the Ohio Kickoff Tournament Saturday at Columbus Bowling Palace.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.