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Bulldogs shake free from Chiefs

Elida pulls away for 56-45 win

BHSElida

Bellefontaine’s A.J. Gorham puts up a shot during the first half of Tuesday’s game at Elida. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)

ELIDA — Bellefontaine contained Elida’s star player Tuesday night, but the Bulldogs got enough from their supporting cast to come away with a double-digit win.

The Bulldogs, who were the Division II state runners-up last year, led by just four points (37-33) after three quarters. They pulled away in the final quarter, outscoring Bellefontaine 19-12 to record a 56-45 non-league victory in the spacious Elida Fieldhouse.

Bellefontaine drops to 10-10 on the season, while Elida moves to 12-8.

“The purpose of coming up here was to play a well-coached basketball team in a nice atmosphere,” said BHS head coach Henry Stolly. “Overall, I thought our kids did a good job executing our game plan. We just have to play for a full 32 minutes and level out those peaks and valleys.”

The Chiefs did an impressive defensive job on Elida’s star junior guard Dakota Mathias, holding him to 12 points.

Mathias has scored 40 or more points three times this season and has already eclipsed 1,000 career points with another full season remaining. He holds scholarship offers from Purdue and West Virginia. Purdue head coach Matt Painter attended Elida’s game Friday against Lima Bath to see Mathias play in person.

Bellefontaine kept at least one player, and often two, on Mathias everywhere he went on the court.

“We had a game plan to contain him,” said Stolly. “You are not going to shut him down, but we wanted to slow him down a little bit. We wanted to make him get rid of the ball when he crossed half court, and we did a pretty good job doing that.”

The Bulldogs showed they are more than a one-man team as guard Aric Thompson scored a game-high 18 points and Austin Allemaier also was in double figures with 10 points.

“The problem you have when you play against someone like Mathias is that you have to put extra attention on him and it opens up some things for their other guys,” said Stolly. “To his credit, he was able to find the open guy.”

Bellefontaine went toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs for most of the night.

The Chiefs led 10-9 after one quarter and Bellefontaine held a two-point cushion (26-24) at halftime.

Elida moved in front in the third quarter for a 37-33 advantage.

Bellefontaine trailed by only three points (42-39) with 4:15 remaining, but the Bulldogs finished the game on a 14-6 run.

The two teams were nearly identical in their shooting percentage. Bellefontaine made 19-of-43 attempts for 44 percent and the Bulldogs hit 20-of-44 shots for 45 percent.

The Chiefs were balanced in their scoring as three players reached double digits. A.J. Gorham scored 11 points, Logan Mitchell had 10 points and 10 rebounds and Matt Gump also had 10 points.

Tristin Tillman chipped in six points for the Chiefs.

“This was a good test for our team and hopefully, it makes us more battle-tested moving forward,” added Stolly.

Bellefontaine’s junior varsity team continued its strong season with a 53-50 win over the Bulldogs. Dorion Hughes had 17 points and Daniel Boy scored 13 to lead the Chiefs.

Bellefontaine returns to action Friday at Stebbins before capping the regular season with a game at rival Indian Lake on Saturday.

ELIDA 56, BELLEFONTAINE 45

BELLEFONTAINE (10-10)

Gump 4 1-2 10; A. Gorham 4 0-0 11; Oyer 2 1-2 5; Kennedy 1 0-0 3; Tillman 3 0-2 6; L. Mitchell 5 0-0 10. Totals: 19 2-6 45.

ELIDA (12-8)

Thompson 7 1-2 18; Mathias 4 2-2 12; Allemaier 4 2-2 10; Wilson 3 1-2 8; Gray 1 2-3 5; Stambaugh 1 0-0 3. Totals: 20 8-11 56.

Chiefs    10    16    7    12  — 45

Bulldogs    9    15    13    19    —    56

Three pointers: Bellefontaine 5 (A. Gorham 3, Gump, Kennedy); Elida 8 (Thompson 3, Mathias 2, Wilson, Gray, Stambaugh). Rebounds: Bellefontaine 24 (L. Mitchell 10); Elida 29. Assists: Bellefontaine 8; Elida 14. Steals: Bellefontaine 5; Elida 10. Turnovers: Bellefontaine 13; Elida 10. Team fouls: Bellefontaine 12; Elida 4.

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