By Josh Brown
CLAYTON — Bethel boys basketball coach Brett Kopp still remembers what happened in last year’s Division III district final.
“We got worn down against Purcell Marian,” he said. “We don’t want that to happen again. That’s why we played this game tonight.”
Bethel (17-3) took on Northmont — a top-tier Division I school in the Dayton area — on the road Tuesday night, remaining close throughout the first half before the Thunderbolts pulled away with a big third quarter, snapping the Bees’ six-game winning streak with a 77-63 non-league victory.
“They just wore us down,” Kopp said. “They’re just so deep and relentless in what they do. We don’t see teams like that. They start 6-foot, and then everyone else is 6-2, 6-4, 6-5, 6-5, very athletic. Then they bring guys off the bench that are 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, 6-5. That’s why we play this game. It’s only going to help us in the future.”
Still, the Bees put up a fight.
Caleb South led Bethel with 24 points, while Jesse Nickell and Daniel Hagan each stepped up to add 11 points and Ryan Rose chipped in nine as the Bees trailed by nine after the first quarter but cut the deficit to 34-29 at halftime. But Northmont (15-4) outscored Bethel 28-11 in the third quarter to take control, with the Bees outscoring the ‘Bolts 23-15 in the fourth to make the final respectable.
“They’re going to be a top two seed in the D-I sectional,” Kopp said. “We played hard. Their coach texted me after about how hard my kids played, and I want that to be our staple. For 20 games now, that has been the staple of this team — how hard we play.”
Bethel returns home Friday for a huge Cross County Conference matchup against defending league champion Tri-Village with a chance to clinch this year’s championship outright.
“After the game tonight, the kids’ spirits were still up, and I told them to let this one go,” Kopp said. “We’ve got a big one coming up this weekend that means a whole lot more.”
COVINGTON — Covington fell to the .500 mark Tuesday night, falling behind visiting Tri-Village by 15 at halftime and never recovering in a 64-38 loss to the defending Cross County Conference champion Patriots.
Trevor Miller led the Buccaneers (9-9, 6-4 CCC) with 11 points, Nathan Blei added nine and Jett Murphy scored eight. Gavin Richards hit five of Tri-Village’s nine 3s and led all scorers with 21 points, while Tyler Couch added 17 points.
Covington travels to Newton Friday.
Other scores: Twin Valley South 62, Bradford 54.
GREENVILLE — The Tippecnaoe boys and girls bowling teams dropped a pair of close Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division matches at Greenville Tuesday, with the boys falling 2,116-2,062 and the girls falling 1,804-1,635.
Austin Post had a new personal high 215 game and 361 series and James Ridgeway had a 379 series to lead Tippecanoe’s boys (7-9, 6-7 GWOC American North). For the Red Devil girls (2014, 2-11 GWOC American North), Ashlyn Herzog had a 186 game and 320 series and Reeghan Brown added a 170 game and 291 series.
Tippecanoe faces Troy Friday at Troy Bowl.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.