Bethel escapes with 61-59 decision over Tecumseh

Keven Scrutchins
Bethel's Gage Porter scores two points in the second half of play against the visiting Tecumseh Savages Friday night.

BETHEL ACRES - The great escape.

The Bethel Wildcats, up by 15-points with four minutes to play, escaped with a 61-59 win over the visiting Tecumseh Savages Friday night in their season opener.

The girls game was postponed due to a COVID-19 quarantine.

Tecumseh, down 55-40 after a D.J. Whitten bucket with 4:02 left to play in the game, went on a 14-1 run in a frenzied two-and-a-half minutes of play and cut the deficit to 56-54 on a Jose Lugo trey with 1:45 remaining. Lugo scored nine of the 14 points in the run.

Bethel kept the lead by hitting 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch, but that still was not enough to breathe easy. The Wildcats' Gage Porter missed the second of two free throws with :24, leaving the door open for Tecumseh.

It looked like overtime when Bethel fouled a 3-point shot attempt from Brady Overstreet deep in the corner with just 1.7 seconds left on the game clock. Overstreet missed the first attempt, made the second then tried to get a favorable bounce on an intentionally missed third free throw, but failed to draw iron. That set up the baseline inbounds for Bethel and the Wildcats threw the ball the length of the court to capture the win.

Bethel controlled the game throughout, with the exception of the first few minutes of the first quarter. Tecumseh led 2-0 before the game-clock even started as it was awarded a technical foul in warm-ups due to the Wildcats dunking in the layup line with the officials on the court.

The Savages then led 4-3 with 4:58 left in the first – the last lead they would see in the ball game. Bethel led 15-7 after the first quarter and took a 24-16 lead into the half.

Bethel outscored Tecumseh 20-15 in the third quarter, taking a 44-31 lead into the final frame. That set the stage for the huge rally by the Savages.

Tecumseh’s Lugo led all scorers with 22 points, including one 3-pointer. Overstreet and Zerek Harjo each scored 10 points for the Savages.

John Gordon led Bethel with 16 points and Porter finished with 12. Whitten joined them in double figures with an 11-point effort.

Bethel is 1-0 on the season while the Savages dropped to 0-2.