Bellbrook tops Tipp to win regional, reach state semifinals

The Steel Curtain, Doomsday Defense and Purple People Eaters.

Bellbrook bested them all Friday.

Led by a tenacious defense and timely plays in crunch time, Bellbrook outlasted Tippecanoe 47-41 in a Division II girls regional final at Springfield High School.

With the victory, Bellbrook ended Tipp’s 14-game win streak and solidified itself as the top D-II pubic school program in Southwest Ohio with the school’s third state berth. The Eagles also made state in 1976 and 2012. Tipp was averaging 56 points per game.

Bellbrook plays Gilmour Academy (Cleveland) in a state semifinal at 1 p.m. Friday inside Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.

“Were playing for every public school in Ohio and for the SWBL and we tell our girls that,” Bellbrook coach Jason Tincher said. “When you start playing for things there’s no telling what you can do and it’s a beautiful thing to watch. These girls weren’t going to be denied.”

Tipp, which finishes 25-3, fell for the third time in four years in the regional final.

The previous two losses came to Alter.

All taste the same.

“In order to win now, you have to make lay-ups and free throws and take care of the ball,” Tipp coach Andy Holderman said. “We didn’t do so well at that. It is what it is,”

“We’ve gotten better every time out and we’re playing good teams,” Tincher said. “Our girls love the underdog role. This team is playing as good as any team I’ve coached.”

Bellbrook is the only pubic school to capture the regional title at Springfield in the last 11 years. And the Eagles have done it twice.

Defeating Alter, Carroll and Chaminade Julienne en route to the title in 2012, Bellbrook took a different road this season.

Appropriately that path ended with Tipp.

Led by senior transfer and Iowa State recruit Maddie Frederick and four returning starters, Tipp was the regional favorite heading into the season. The Red Devils made the final, but couldn’t overcome the momentum Bellbrook amassed.

The Eagles, 12-1 in their last 13 games, led 25-22 at halftime and 37-32 after three quarters. The onslaught never slowed.

Tipp held a 39-38 lead with 3:56 left before a Bekah Vine bucket gave Bellbrook the lead for good (40-39). Olivia Greathouse made four free throws and Cassidy Hofacker added three in the final three minutes as the Eagles held on.

The largest lead by either team was five points (by Bellbrook in both halves).

Sophomore Brooklyn Hall led Bellbrook with 11 points, while Cassidy Hofacker chipped in 10. Frederick led all scorers with 21.

“We knew going in that they were a streaky team and they have some good players,” Tincher said. “If they got 1-2 points up I tried to call timeout. We responded every time.”

Since 2000, only five public schools have won the D-II regional at Springfield (and Vandalia prior). Bellbrook and Columbus Eastmoor (2005 and 2007) each own two championships. Little Miami (2006) is the other. GCL schools own 14 regional titles since 2000.

Tipp’s senior class ends with 97 career victories.

“There were a couple possessions where we did things out of character and that’s enough to make the difference,” Holderman said. “I didn’t see that panic in us all year. A flinch can cost you at this level.”

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