Created on Saturday, 02 February 2013 Written by MATT HAMMOND
TIPP CITY — The inability to finish off games has been a reoccurring problem for Bellefontaine’s boys basketball team this winter. The Chiefs were unable to cure their late-game issues here Friday night.
Bellefontaine’s Jake Kennedy puts up a shot during the second half of Friday’s game at Tippecanoe. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)
Bellefontaine led the host Red Devils by seven points with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, but Tippecanoe was able to storm back to force overtime.
The Red Devils then came up with some clutch plays in the extra session to squeeze out a 62-59 win over the Chiefs in a Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail division game.
“Any time you are in a tight game, execution is paramount,” said BHS head coach Henry Stolly. “You have to execute in all phases and we didn’t do enough of that tonight. We just did not make enough plays down the stretch.”
Bellefontaine, which has lost four games by three points or less, built a 45-38 lead with 1:56 left in the game.
However, the Red Devils (14-3, 6-2) fought back behind an impressive three-point shooting display.
Austin Hadden and Cameron Johnson hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut Bellefontaine’s lead to one point (45-44) with 1:04 remaining.
The Chiefs’ Logan Mitchell corralled an offensive rebound on a missed free throw and scored inside to give Bellefontaine a three-point cushion with 27 seconds left on the clock.
Bellefontaine, which missed the front end of two 1-and-1 situations at the foul line in the final minute, suffered a tough finish to regulation.
Hadden drilled a deep three-pointer with two seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
“You have to give them a lot of credit,” said Stolly. “They stepped up and hit some big three-pointers and they made their free throws when they needed them.”
A Logan Mitchell basket early in the overtime period allowed Bellefontaine to take a two-point lead (49-47), but that was short lived.
Hadden made another three-pointer and Nick Fischer hit four straight free throws to put the Red Devils up 55-49 with 1:37 remaining.
Bellefontaine clawed back, going on a 6-1 spurt. A.J. Gorham’s three-pointer at the 32-second mark pulled the Chiefs to within a point at 56-55.
The Red Devils then made three of four free throws for a four-point cushion.
Bellefontaine sophomore guard Tristin Tillman, who scored a game-high 24 points, hit a bucket with 19 seconds left to make it a two-point game (59-57).
Fischer was fouled with 11.8 seconds left and converted one of two attempts at the foul line to put the hosts ahead by three points.
A dramatic finish to the overtime session followed. Tillman was fouled while shooting a three-pointer with 4.8 seconds on the clock.
Tillman hit the first two free throws, but the third attempt fell off the front of the rim.
The Red Devils got the rebound and Fischer knocked down two free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining to seal the game.
“It was a total team effort,” said Stolly. “Tristin made some big shots and without him we would not have been in the game at the end. I thought Logan Mitchell did a nice job and Brett Wisner stepped up and made some big shots. We had a lot of guys contribute, but the bottom line is we have to find a way to step up and make plays in crunch time.”
Logan Mitchell contributed 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Chiefs. Wisner had nine points and A.J. Gorham and Max Oyer added five points apiece.
Fischer led the Red Devils with 16 points.
Tippecanoe pulled out a 45-42 win in the junior varsity game. Dorion Hughes led the Chiefs with 12 points.
Bellefontaine won the freshman contest 46-25. Jacob Rogan scored 15 points for Bellefontaine.
The Chiefs, who are now 9-8 overall and 3-5 in league play, host Graham on Tuesday.
TIPPECANOE 62, BELLEFONTAINE 59 (OT)
BELLEFONTAINE (9-8, 3-5)
A. Gorham 2 0-0 5; Oyer 2 1-1 5; C. Mitchell 1 0-0 2; Kennedy 0 4-5 4; Tillman 8 6-7 24; Wisner 4 1-3 9; L. Mitchell 5 0-3 10. Totals: 22 12-19 59.
TIPPECANOE (14-3, 6-2)
Fischer 3 9-11 16; Hughes 1 2-4 4; Hadden 4 1-1 12; Ervin 1 0-0 2; Ford 1 0-0 2; Stucke 2 0-0 4; Johnson 4 2-2 11; Landwehr 1 2-3 4; Donaley 3 1-2 7. Totals: 20 17-23 62.
Chiefs 4 15 18 10 12 — 59
Red Devils 10 10 14 13 15 — 62
Three pointers: Bellefontaine 3 (Tillman 2, A. Gorham); Tippecanoe 5 (Hadden 3, Fischer, Johnson). Rebounds: Bellefontaine 26 (L. Mitchell 13). Assists: Bellefontaine 12 (L. Mitchell 4). Steals: Bellefontaine 9. Turnovers: Bellefontaine 12.