It took a while for Bellbrook High School’s girls basketball team to emerge from the locker room at Springfield on Tuesday night, and there was a good reason.
Veteran coach Jason Tincher wanted to make sure his players heard about what it’s like to get to the Division II state tournament. Because the Golden Eagles are just one win away.
“As tired as they are in there, their eyes kind of got big and they were like, ‘We can do this,’ ” Tincher said after Bellbrook thumped Southwestern Buckeye League rival Franklin for the third time with a 42-27 triumph in a regional semifinal.
“I wanted to go in there and maybe tell them a little bit about what it feels like to go there and how the town gets around you. I want them to be able to see it and dream it a little bit.”
Tincher took the Golden Eagles to state in 2012, and the program also made it there in 1976. On Friday, Bellbrook (19-8) will return to Springfield to meet Tippecanoe (25-2) for the regional championship at 7:30 p.m.
“It feels amazing,” said senior guard Cassidy Hofacker, who had a game-high 13 points and four rebounds against Franklin. “Now we’ve just got to get the next one and go hard.”
Bellbrook’s defense was the difference in three meetings with the Wildcats this year. Franklin was limited to 97 total points in its defeats.
Layne Ferrell and Jordan Rogers scored 8 points apiece for the Wildcats (19-7) in their first regional appearance. Ferrell’s streak of 50 straight games in double figures came to an end.
“Our coach told us (about the streak) and we were like, ‘Well, that’s our goal, not to let her score 10,’ ” said Hofacker, who spent a considerable amount of time guarding Ferrell, as did teammate Bekah Vine. “I was like, ‘There’s no way she’s scoring on me and there’s no way we’re losing this game.’ ”
The Golden Eagles were more efficient than Franklin on both ends of the court. The Wildcats more than doubled Bellbrook in turnovers (14-6), and Hofacker put on a passing clinic in and around the FHS defense.
Franklin was within 27-23 midway through the third period, but only managed one field goal and two free throws the rest of the way.
“I had a rough night,” said Ferrell, who hauled in 12 rebounds and was 2 of 4 at the line. “Give credit to their defense. They play hard, they’re really well-rounded, and they’re good fundamentally.”
Wildcats coach John Rossi said it all starts with guards Hofacker and Vine for Bellbrook, though the Golden Eagles also got solid contributions from players like Siera Ferguson (7 points, six rebounds) and Brooklynn Hall (8 points, four rebounds).
“They’re very quick on the perimeter. They’re very strong. They rebound the basketball real well,” Rossi said. “We had us for zero offensive rebounds, and they’ve got a lot to do with that. Their two guards are outstanding. We tried to switch our defenses off as much as possible. It just didn’t seem to faze ’em too much.”
Tippecanoe had no trouble with Bloom-Carroll (15-11) in Tuesday’s nightcap, taking a 17-4 lead after one quarter and rolling to a 50-28 win. Cali Stewart and Brooke Aselage had 15 and 11 points, respectively, for the victorious Red Devils.
Cin. Purcell Marian boys 78, Anna 65: The GCL Co-Ed Central reps rolled to an 11-point halftime lead and made it stand in a boys D-III district final at UD Arena on Tuesday night. Anna (21-5) had an eight-game win streak snapped and was led by Wyatt Bensman and Griffin Doseck with 15 points each. Joel Cathcart added 12.
Cin. North College Hill boys 60, Bethel 44: Ryan Rose scored a game-high 17 points but the Bees were just 3 of 23 in 3-pointers in the second D-III district final at UD on Tuesday. Alex Van Haaren added 14 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks for Bethel (19-6) and Kendal James 10.
FRANKLIN (19-7): Jordan Rogers 2 3 8, Skyler Weir 1 0 3, Layne Ferrell 3 2 8, Emily Newton 2 1 5, Emma Bicknell 0 1 1, Brooke Stover 1 0 2. Totals: 9-7-27
BELLBROOK (19-8): Cassidy Hofacker 6 1 13, Bekah Vine 1 0 2, Kayla Paul 1 1 3, Brooklynn Hall 1 5 8, Siera Ferguson 3 1 7, Maren Freudenschuss 2 0 5, Olivia Greathouse 1 2 4. Totals: 15-10-42
3-pointers: F 2 (Rogers, Weir), B 2 (Freudenschuss, Hall)
BLOOM-CARROLL (15-11): Makenzee Mason 1 4 6, Maddy Wyant 0 1 1, McKenzie Powers 1 0 3, Chloe Davis 3 3 9, Nikki Bradbury 2 0 6, Alayna Ireland 1 0 3. Totals: 8-8-28
TIPPECANOE (25-2): Hailee Varvel 1 0 2, Brooke Aselage 5 0 11, Claire Hinkle 1 0 2, Cali Stewart 5 2 15, Ashleigh Mader 1 0 2, Allison Mader 3 3 9, Maddie Frederick 3 0 7, Chloe Schretzman 1 0 2. Totals: 20-5-50
3-pointers: B 4 (Bradbury 2, Powers, Ireland), T 5 (Stewart 3, Frederick, Aselage)