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A gritty effort, but winning streak halted by Tecumseh

Playing without injured Gump, Chiefs lose to Arrows 41-38

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Bellefontaine’s Max Oyer drives to the basket against Tecumseh’s Gabe Winans-Berner during the second half of Friday’s game at Tecumseh High School. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)

NEW CARLISLE — With its star player sitting in street clothes on the bench, Bellefontaine’s boys basketball team turned in a gutsy performance here Friday night against a talented Tecumseh squad.

It was not enough to avoid falling for the first time in six games, though.

The Arrows opened up a seven-point cushion early in the fourth quarter and held on for a 41-38 victory in a Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail division game.

Tecumseh, which sits atop the Kenton Trail standings with a 4-0 record, improves to 10-1 overall.

Bellefontaine saw its five-game winning streak snapped. The Chiefs fall to 5-3, 1-2.

The Chiefs played without standout senior guard Matt Gump, who injured his shooting hand Wednesday against Jonathan Alder. He is expected to be out at least four weeks.

“We were not looking for any kind of moral victories tonight,” said Bellefontaine head coach Henry Stolly. “I told the kids that we came down here to win. Collectively, when you work hard, play together and have a single vision, you can get things done. We are not quite there yet, but we are getting closer. From an effort standpoint, I was pleased.”

Bellefontaine came out on fire. The Chiefs hit 5-of-6 attempts from the field in the first quarter to take a 13-4 lead.

“No matter where you are playing, you need to come out and take care of the ball and execute,” said Stolly. “We had some shots fall, and that certainly helped with our confidence.”

The Chiefs cooled off after the hot start. They made only 8-of-30 field goal attempts over the final three quarters.

Tecumseh closed to within a point (19-18) at halftime.

A nip-and-tuck third quarter ended with the Chiefs again up by one point (26-25).

The Arrows, whose only loss this season came to Northmont, opened the fourth quarter on a 10-2 spurt to  grab a seven-point advantage (35-28).

Bellefontaine fought back. The Chiefs chopped the Tecumseh lead to two points (37-35) with 3:18 remaining.

However, Bellefontaine did not muster another point until A.J. Gorham hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. That followed four consecutive points by the Arrows.

“You always look for some positives, and I thought the way we hung in there after they went on a little surge was definitely a positive for us,” said Stolly. “We made some good defensive plays and rebounded the ball pretty well on the defensive glass. We just came up a little short.”

Bellefontaine did not break out of the 30s for the third straight game. The Chiefs have been getting most of their points from the perimeter.

“We need to get some scoring from our fours and fives,” said the Chieftain head coach. “Whether it is a putback or a quick basket in transition, we have to cash in on our opportunities. We need to be more balanced across the floor.”

Sophomore guard Jake Kennedy powered the Chiefs with a game-high 15 points. Tristin Tillman had eight points and A.J. Gorham chipped in seven points.

Dalton Davis led the Arrows with 14 points.

In the junior varsity game, Bellefontaine won 48-43. Dorion Hughes paced the Chiefs with 19 points.

Bellefontaine won the freshman contest 55-22. Jacob Rogan had 11 points and Lane Wisner scored 10 for the Chiefs.

Bellefontaine returns to action Monday at home against Tippecanoe in a makeup game.

TECUMSEH 41, BELLEFONTAINE 38

BELLEFONTAINE (5-3, 1-2)

A. Gorham 2 1-4 7; Oyer 1 0-2 2; Kennedy 5 2-2 15; Tillman 3 2-2 8; Wisner 1 0-0 2; S. Gorham 1 2-2 4. Totals: 13 7-12 38.

TECUMSEH (10-1, 4-0)

Wardley 2 0-0 5; Davis 4 2-2 14; McFarland 1 2-2 4; Winans-Berner 4 2-2 10; Quisenberry 3 0-0 6; Messer 1 0-0 2. Totals: 15 6-6 41.

Chiefs    13    6    7    12  — 38

Arrows    4    14    7    16    —    41

Three pointers: Bellefontaine 5 (Kennedy 3, A. Gorham 2); Tecumseh 5 (Davis 4, Wordley). Rebounds: Bellefontaine 18 (Kennedy 6). Assists: Bellefontaine 5. Steals: Bellefontaine 5. Turnovers: Bellefontaine 7; Tecumseh 7. Team fouls: Bellefontaine 12; Tecumseh 12.

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