XENIA – Bellbrook began the Benner Field House Classic in grand fashion, Friday night Nov. 29 in its boys high school basketball season opener with Legacy Christian. The Golden Eagles kept the Knights scoreless for all but 72 seconds of the opening quarter for a convincing 67-26 win.
The Golden Eagles’ Ryan Chew scored the game’s first eight points, and led all scorers with 21 points. In all, 15 different Bellbrook players scored. Chew led the bunch with his 21, while Gabe Pavlak and Kevin Urbaniak scored eight points each.
“That was nice start for us, yeah. I know that Legacy Christian lost a lot from last season. They have a new coach (first-year coach Mark Erwin) and they have one of their players hurt,” Bellbrook coach Donnie Tate explained. “We really didn’t know anything about them. We talked to some guys they had scrimmaged, but we didn’t have any film on them. They’re not healthy, but yeah, I think we played pretty well.”
The score was 17-0 before Legacy Christian could get on the scoreboard – a Trevor Erwin free throw with 1:12 left in the opening quarter. Mark Erwin led the Knights with eight points, Trevor Erwin finished with seven points; and Evan Dodson was next with six.
Tate has most all of his team back from last season. He said the experience of playing together last season with a primarily junior-freshman lineup could be paying dividends for the team this time around.
“We dressed five freshmen for our tournament game last year. We really have five seniors and five sophomores this season, and I feel like we can either start five seniors, or we can start five sophomores. One of our sophomores led us in scoring today (Ryan Chew).
“We put in some new stuff from last year to this year, … the guys have been really working hard for this season. We’ve been on the court seven days a week since September 1st. We had no days off. They loved it. We’re hoping for really good things this year.”
Bellbrook (1-0) will face another Greene County-area opponent for its next game. The Golden Eagles will take to the road to play at Beavercreek at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Legacy Christian (0-1) also has a Greene County opponent next on its slate. The Knights will host Cedarville for a 7:30 p.m. game, also on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Tate said playing in the Benner Field House is an experience he and his players won’t soon forget.
“It was awesome. This is great to be in here. I went to Ferguson, so when we would play Xenia Central we would play here. We had practice here on Monday. The kids love it. It’s a great venue. It’s loud in here, too.
“We were talking about some of the history, how greats like Jerry Lucas played in here, and some others. It was a great environment. It’s been awesome.”
Two other games were played at Benner. The second game saw Springboro’s Kahleel Trent sink a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Panthers a come-from-behind 69-68 win over Fairfield.
Host Xenia took on Beavercreek in the nightcap. Beavercreek had held a commanding 39-12 lead at halftime. Yousef Saleh led the Beavers with 10 first-half points, Chris Herbert had eight, Adam Duvall had seven points, while Mali Harris Strayhan and Branden Grant had six each.
The second half of the Xenia-Beavercreek game was still going on as of presstime.
BENNER BEAVERCREEK TRIFECTA: With a possible Beavercreek win, a unique coaching trifecta will have occurred. Each of the winning coaches — Bellbrook’s Donnie Tate, Springboro’s Kyle Youker, and Beavercreek first-year coach Steve Pittman — will have played for former Beavercreek coach Larry Holden. Holden flew up from Florida to watch his former players coach their respective teams Friday night.
GAME REPLAYS ON FACEBOOK: TKDS Sports, an online sports network for the Miami Valley area, will reportedly re-broadcast each of Friday’s games on its Facebook site. Go to Facebook.com/TDKSSports to watch the games for free.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.