Wildcats cruise past Savages in tournament semifinals

Keven Scrutchins
Bethel's Drae Wood defends against Tecumseh's Daveon Mays Friday in the first half of the First United Bank Classic game.

BETHEL ACRES - The Bethel Wildcats cruised to a 73-40 win over the Tecumseh Savages in the second semifinal matchup of the First United Bank Basketball Classic Friday night in the friendly confines of their own gym.

Bethel struck early and often, and left no doubt as to who was going to face the Prague Red Devils in the championship game.

The Wildcats hit three treys in the first quarter and built a comfy 21-13 lead after the first eight minutes of action. The two teams played fairly even in the second and Bethel took a 31-22 lead into intermission. DJ Whitten and Jesse Tucker led the way in the first half for Bethel, scoring eight points apiece.

The third quarter belonged to Bethel. The Wildcat outscored Tecumseh 24-8 in that period and took a 55-30 lead into the fourth. John Gordon scored 10 of his game-high tying 18 points in the third. The Wildcats defense held the Savages to just three field goals in the decisive frame.

Gordon was joined in double-digit scoring by Whitten who also collected 18 points. He hit three treys on the night. Jesse Tucker added 14 points and Drae Wood scored nine for Bethel.

Jose Lugo scored nine points for the Savages and Daveon Mays chipped in with eight. Payden Clutter and Jase Edwards scored six points apiece.

Prague 61, Byng 49 (Boys Semifinals)

The Prague Red Devils advanced into the championship game against the Bethel Wildcats with a decisive win over the Byng Pirates Friday and the hot hand of Nate Lester got them there.

Lester scored a game-high 25 points and hit six three-pointers, half of which came in the first quarter of play.The shooting exhibition vaulted Prague to a 17-14 lead after the first quarter.

Lester hit two more bombs in the second quarter as the Red Devils extended the lead to 32-22 at the half.

The Prague defense was equally impressive holding the Pirates to just eight second-quarter

points.

The Red Devils continued their long-range assault in the third quarter as three different Prague

shooters canned shots from long range. Trip Davis hit two and Peyton Ezell and Blestin Miller

each hit one. Prague led 48-34 after three quarters of play.

The Red Devils slowed the pace in the fourth and took care of the win down the stretch from the

free-throw line. Prague hit 8 of 11 free throws down the stretch to keep Byng from picking up any

momentum for a comeback rally. Lester added his sixth and final trey in the fourth quarter.

Lester was joined in double figures by Miller with 11 and Eli Bias added 10 points off of the Red

Devil bench.

Parker Presley led Byng with 19 points. Carter Colombe added 16 for the Pirates.

McLoud 63, Bridge Creek 60 (Boys Consolation)

The McLoud Redskins outscored the Bridge Creek Bobcats 24-13 in the fourth quarter to storm

back from a 14-point deficit, earning the three-point victory.

Senior Tristen Crook led the fourth-quarter surge, scoring all 10 of his points in the final eight

minutes of play.

The Bobcats led 13-11 after the first quarter and expanded their lead to 31-19 at the half. The

third quarter was more of the same as they built a 14-point lead when Gunner Korstjens hit a

short jumper with :46 left, giving Bridge Creek a 47-33 lead.

McLoud’s Luke Norwood then scored on an old-fashioned three-point play and 23 seconds later

Sammy Keller hit a trey with :10 left in the frame cutting the deficit to 47-39 heading into the final

quarter. That spurt shifted all of the momentum into McLoud’s court.

The Redskins applied full-court pressure to the Bobcats in the final quarter and it payed off with

eight points off of turnovers to keep chipping away at the Bridge Creek lead.

A Crook layup with :54 left tied the contest at 60-60. Sophomore Luke Jordan nailed a

3-pointer at the :34 mark and gave McLoud its first since early in the first quarter. That turned

out to be the end of the scoring as McLoud kept the Bobcats from scoring in the last half minute of

play.

Jacob Jordan led McLoud in scoring with 12 points and Johnny Sparlin collected 11. Crook and

Luke Jordan each added 10 for the Redskins.

Korstjens led all scorers with 18 and had a chance to tie the game as time expired, but his three-point attempt came up wide left of the mark. Jacob Ojeda added 11 points for Bridge Creek and Caden Russell poured in 10.