BELLBROOK — After being delayed one day due to weather, Xenia and Bellbrook met in a Greater Western Ohio Conference vs Southwestern Buckeye League matchup Wednesday night at Bellbrook High School. It was an up and down game, but ultimately the Golden Eagles were able to come away with the 59-53 win over the Buccaneers.
Xenia (7-8) came out in the first quarter looking to push the basketball on offense, and had a 16-12 lead after one. Bellbrook coach Perry Caldwell said that his team wanted to try and play at a slower pace, and that it took a minute for his team to feel out what the Bucs were doing.
“We tried to prepare them for the pressure and the tempo,” he said. “We knew Xenia wanted to play faster than we wanted to.”
Xenia coach Kent Anderson also talked about his teams’ advantage playing at a faster pace.
“We were trying to get them up tempo. We did a great job in the first quarter getting it to where we wanted and we let them slow us down,” he said. “I thought they did a great job executing in the halfcourt. It’s one of the first teams that’s really picked apart our trap the way they did.”
Bellbrook (9-3) came out in the second quarter on a early 6-0 run. Part of the reason the Golden Eagles were able to control the pace was senior forward Tyler Everidge’s efficient play. He had 17 points in the game on 8-of-12 shooting, and 11 of those points came in the first half. He also had eight rebounds.
“Tyler’s really big and strong in the post. He finished around the basket for us. He took his time and was patient and he realized that he had a little bit of size on those guys,” said Caldwell about Everidge’s play. “He probably had his best game all year.”
Xenia showed spurts of energy and pulled within one point in the second quarter, but they trailed 28-25 going into the locker room. Anderson said his team just didn’t seem to play with enough aggression.
“We aren’t tough enough inside. We allowed them to muscle us inside. It was one of the few teams this year where we’re semi-equal in size. They don’t have a big size advantage and we just let them get offensive rebound after offensive rebound,” he said. “They completely torched us in the paint. We got to get tougher. We got to get stronger-minded and play tougher defensively.”
The Golden Eagles won the rebound battle 41-31 over Xenia. Part of that was junior center Josh Rogers, who had 10 points and six boards off the bench. His hustle allowed multiple second-chance opportunities for Bellbrook, who had 12 offensive rebounds in the game compared to Xenia’s 11.
Efficient play helped Bellbrook earn an 11 point lead with five minutes left in the final quarter, but Xenia wasn’t done. They stepped up their defense and caused turnovers - they caused 20 overall for Bellbrook - to slowly claw their way back into the game.
A Xenia coach told senior point guard Clayton Kadel that he needed to take over, and Kadel promptly hit a three-point shot and got a steal that led to a foul. Kadel finished with 11 points, four rebounds and three steals, but had a poor shooting night at 4-18 from the field. Junior forward Khyiani Harris also had a good night with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Anderson said that his team’s run was ultimately too little, too late. He liked that his team didn’t quit, but he thought they needed to fix the little things to be able to win.
All of the players for both teams were wearing warmup shirts in honor of Payne Sigman, who was in an automobile accident last week.
“He’s been making progress every day. We think he’s headed in the right direction and these guys are really motivated. They understand that he’s a guy that works his tail off and puts his team first, and I think it motivates them to honor his name and number on the back of their shirts,” said Caldwell. “They just want to go out there and play the way Payne would play.”
Bellbrook is back in action 7:15 p.m. Friday when they host Monroe.
The Bucs are on the road next, visiting West Carrollton at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.