There’s a reason the Tipp City Bethel Bees ended the regular season ranked eighth in the Division IV state poll.
Coach Eric Glover’s team plays the type of basketball that would make fictional coach Norman Dale, of Hoosiers fame, jealous. The Bees pass, pass and pass some more until a clean look comes their way.
And when Bethel finally shoots, they don’t miss often, as Xenia Christian found out during the Bees’ 57-33 sectional semifinal victory Tuesday night at Troy High School.
The fourth-seeded Bees (20-3, 10-2 Cross Country Conference) opened the first half shooting 52 percent (12-of-23) from the field, which put the fifth-seeded Ambassadors (16-7, 9-3 Metro Buckeye Conference) down 28-13 at halftime.
While Bethel built its first-half lead, all Xenia Christian coach Shaun Power could do was watch his team struggle as the Ambassadors shot 5-of-23 from the field.
“The thing we did 16 times this year…to tie the second-best record in school history in 1993…we did that by making shots and we didn’t do that tonight,” Power said.
For Bethel, the bulk of the scoring came from Christian Pfledderer (19), Christian Hagen (17) and Patrick Bain (10).
The Bees willingness to move the ball is the team’s bread and butter, according to Glover.
“Our thing is wait, be patient and get the shot we want,” he said.
Down by 15 entering the third quarter, Xenia Christian couldn’t muster much, as Bethel extended its lead to 27.
Bethel even held Xenia Christian’s leading scorer, Justin Martin, at bay. The senior guard averaged 18.4 points during the regular season, but scored three points in the first three quarters. He netted eight points in the final period and ended the game with 11.
The contest marked the second tournament game in which Bethel’s opponent failed to score more than 33 points.
“The Bethel Bees’ thing is defense,” Glover said. “When we play good defense, we are hard to beat.”
While Power wishes the Ambassadors’ tournament stay would’ve been longer, he’ll remember the season as a historic one.
Xenia Christian won 14 games from 2008-2012, and took a step forward last year with nine victories.
“I’m proud of what our group has done, especially our seniors,” Power said. “If those guys don’t give us a big year, we don’t have that type of success. It’s been fun being part of the tournament, I just wish we could have gotten this one tonight.”
Bethel plays conference rival New Madison Tri-Village (ranked second in the state) in the sectional finals, Feb. 28 at Troy.