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Chiefs get win, but take a hit

Gump suffers hand injury in victory over Pioneers

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Bellefontaine’s Jake Kennedy attempts to dribble around a Jonathan Alder player during Wednesday’s game at Bellefontaine High School. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)

Bellefontaine’s boys basketball team got one player back from injury, but lost another Wednesday night.

Sophomore guard Tristin Tillman returned to action after sitting out Saturday’s West Liberty-Salem game.

That news proved to be extremely big for the Chiefs because they will need to rely heavily on Tillman to run the offense after senior standout Matt Gump left with what appeared to be a serious injury in the first half of a 39-26 win over visiting Jonathan Alder.

Gump, who currently ranks third in scoring (18.7) and first in assists (5.2) in the Central Buckeye Conference, suffered an injury to his left hand and sat on the bench in the second half with an ice bag on the injured hand. His prognosis is not yet clear, but Bellefontaine head coach Henry Stolly was concerned following the contest.

“We hope Matt is OK, but regardless of what happens, I know he will continue to be a leader for us both in the locker room and away from the court,” said Stolly.

The encouraging sign for Bellefontaine was the way the team did not falter after Gump departed the game.

The Chiefs maintained a double-digit cushion for most of the second half. The only exception was when the visitors cut the lead to nine points early in the third quarter.

Bellefontaine never trailed. The Chiefs (5-2) led 20-10 at halftime and 29-18 at the end of the third quarter.

Bellefontaine continued to keep the Pioneers (4-6) at bay in the final period to seal its fifth straight victory.

“I thought we had some kids step up tonight,” said Stolly. “A.J. Gorham played well, Tristin Tillman came off the bench and gave us a good lift and Jake Kennedy did some good things for us. We did a good job staying focused and making good decisions in the second half.

“Regardless of what ends up happening with Matt, we need other guys to continue to step up. We need them to be vocal leaders on the floor and in the locker room as well.”

While the offense has been a bit inconsistent over the last two games, defense has been a strong point for the Chiefs. They have allowed an average of 30 points over the last two games.

“Our defense has definitely been one of the shining points over these last two games,” said Stolly. “Our kids have been pretty locked-in defensively. We were able to identify some of the tendencies of the two opponents and executed our game plan well.”

Tillman paced Bellefontaine with nine points. Gump and Kennedy each had eight points and Max Oyer added six points.

Bellefontaine also was victorious in the freshman and junior varsity games Wednesday.

The junior varsity squad took a 36-34 decision. Dorion Hughes led the Chiefs with eight points.

In the freshman game, Bellefontaine won 47-29. Jacob Rogan led Bellefontaine with 14 points and Lane Wisner added 13 points.

The Chiefs are back in action Friday at Tecumseh. It will be a tough test for the Chiefs. The Arrows (9-1 overall) currently lead the CBC Kenton Trail division with a 3-0 mark.

“This is a typical Tecumseh team,” said Stolly. “They are very quick and they like to push the ball in transition. We have to get back on defense. They also rebound the ball well.

“They are playing with a lot of confidence. Offensively, they have a lot of guys that can score points.”

Schedule note: Bellefontaine’s home game against Tippecanoe that was wiped out Dec. 21 because of snow has been rescheduled for Monday.

BELLEFONTAINE 39, JONATHAN ALDER 26

JONATHAN ALDER (4-6)

Hess 1 0-0 3; Thomas 1 0-1 3; Will 2 3-4 7; Yoder 1 3-5 5; Mullet 2 0-0 4; Tanner 2 0-0 4. Totals: 9 6-9 26.

BELLEFONTAINE (5-2)

Gump 3 0-0 8; A. Gorham 0 1-2 1; Oyer 2 2-2 6; Kennedy 3 1-1 8; Tillman 1 6-8 9; Wisner 1 1-1 3; L. Mitchell 2 0-0 4. Totals: 12 11-14 39.

Pioneers    3    7    8    8      —     26

Chiefs    5    15    9    10    —    39

Three pointers: Jonathan Alder 2 (Hess, Thomas); Bellefontaine 4 (Gump 2, Kennedy, Tillman). Rebounds: Bellefontaine 16 (Wisner 7). Assists: Bellefontaine 9. Steals: Bellefontaine 9 (A. Gorham 3). Turnovers: Jonathan Alder 11; Bellefontaine 7. Team fouls: Jonathan Alder 17; Bellefontaine 11.

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