Bellefontaine upsets top-seeded Urbana


Urbana fought and fought Tuesday night to get even with Bellefontaine. And just when it looked as if hope was gone, Dillon Knueven banked in a 3-pointer with seven seconds left.

Down two, the Hillclimbers fouled Bellefontaine’s Tristin Tillman before the ball was inbounded. Tillman made the first but missed the second. But Urbana never got a chance to shoot for the tie because Chieftains point guard AJ Gorham stole the outlet pass and was fouled.

Two free throws later fourth-seeded Bellefontaine had knocked off top-seeded Urbana 45-40 in a Division II sectional semifinal at Springfield High School.

“I never felt like we were out of it,” Urbana coach Jeremy Dixon said. “I always thought we’re going to have a run, we’re going to have a run. Unfortunately it just came a little bit too late.”

Bellefontaine meets Central Buckeye Conference rival Tippecanoe, the No. 2 seed, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Springfield High in the sectional final.

Urbana (18-6) never led and was never tied for the lead as Bellefontaine (15-8) took a 10-4 lead after one quarter. The Hillclimbers played catch-up, and 42-40 was as close as they got on Knueven’s late 3-pointer.

“It seemed like every time we had a chance to cut the lead, we’d miss an easy basket, a loose ball would tip their way or they’d get a breakout,” Dixon said.

The Chieftains, who had their own struggles scoring at times against the stingiest defense in the CBC, led by nine early in the fourth and by eight three more times, the last at 38-30 with 2:51 left before Urbana’s final push.

“They’re a champion,” Bellefontaine coach Henry Stolly said. “They’re going to keep battling to the very end like a champion does.”

Dixon, however, pointed to his team’s four-point first quarter. The Chieftains opened with a 2-3 zone, which did not surprise Urbana. But if high schools played with a shot clock, there would have been a lot of bad, late-in-the-clock shots in the first quarter. The Hillclimbers were reduced to perimeter passers.

“You can’t have a first quarter like we did and expect to beat a good team,” Dixon said. “We were very unaggressive with the zone early on. And when we did get opportunities we just didn’t finish them.”

The Chieftains, who lost to Urbana 45-41 a month ago, changed defenses often during the final three quarters, alternating between zone and man and employing different half-court traps and full-court zone pressure.

“We tried to keep them out of an offensive flow by changing defenses and putting a little pressure on their guards and make them feel a little uncomfortable,” Stolly said.

Urbana won its third straight CBC Mad River Division title this year. Dixon said seniors Knueven (14 points), Alex Niswonger and Justin Levan gave the team strong leadership and consistent play.

“These guys are great kids,” Dixon said. “I don’t think anybody in their right mind expected these kids to win 18 games this year. They overachieved all year.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in

Young Reds’ starters to get long look rest of season
Young Reds’ starters to get long look rest of season

Robert Stephenson knew going into his first major league start of the 2017 season on Saturday that it wouldn’t be his last. Manager Bryan Price already had promised that Stephenson, Cincinnati’s top pick and the 27th overall selection in the 2011 draft, would be part of the Reds rotation long enough for Price and the franchise’s decision-makers...
Santillan leads Dragons past Burlington
Santillan leads Dragons past Burlington

The Dragons were hoping for a better pitching performance on Sunday against the Burlington Bees after allowing 16 runs the last two nights in lopsided losses. They had good reason to hope with Tony Santillan on the mound. Santillan has been one of Dayton’s best starters this season and had another good performance in a 6-1 win over the Bees,...
Young Reds fan kicks Marlins’ Dee Gordon before game
Young Reds fan kicks Marlins’ Dee Gordon before game

Five-year-old Reds fan, Leo Schneider, met the Marlins’ Dee Gordon before Sunday’s game in Cincinnati. Young Leo then introduced Gordon to his big toe.   “It was all planned,” Leo’s mom, Amy Danzo-Schneider, told MLB.com via phone. “Dee Gordon was motioning Leo to come to him. The umpire went with...
Romano, home runs lead Reds past Marlins
Romano, home runs lead Reds past Marlins

Rookie right-hander Sal Romano’s changeup and the Reds’ clubhouse laundry added up to a desperately needed win on Sunday. Romano made his fourth and longest big league start, keeping the Miami Marlins at bay long enough for the offense to string together enough runs for a 6-3 win in the finale of a three-game series and dismal 10-game home...
Dragons drubbed, but Siri extends hit streak to 28 games

By John Cummings Contributing Writer Somewhere, a switch was flipped on the Dayton Dragons and manager Luis Bolivar is trying to switch it back. The Dragons, who had five of their last seven games decided by two runs or less, were banged out of Fifth Third Field for the second consecutive night Saturday, 8-2 by Burlington. Dayton lost 8-1 to Peoria...
More Stories