LEBANON — It had no bearing on Bellbrook’s tournament path, but Coach Jason Tincher made sure his Golden Eagles were aware that a No. 15 seed almost beat a No. 3 in the first round.
“We actually mentioned that,” Tincher said of Greeneview’s surprisingly tough eight-point win over Brookville last week. “Some of it was on social media a little bit. You’ve still gotta remind them to stay focused. It’s tournament.”
The message worked.
No. 2-seeded Bellbrook blitzed the undermanned and over-matched Thurgood Marshall Cougars from the opening tip and cruised to a 59-14 win in a sectional tournament opener Feb. 17 at Lebanon High School. Bellbrook held the No. 13-seeded Cougars scoreless until the final 44 seconds of the first quarter in advancing to the second round, where it will play No. 8 Chaminade Julienne, a 57-27 winner over Ross, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21.
Bellbrook beat CJ, 65-48, on Jan. 4.
“At least I know they were ready,” Tincher said of his team’s effort. “They weren’t taking plays off.”
That was evident from the start as Siera Ferguson scored an inside bucket 17 seconds into the game. A little over a minute later, the score was 6-0 and the Golden Eagles (15-8) led 14-2 after the first quarter, forcing eight turnovers and limiting Marshall to a handful of shots.
Bellbrook scored 10 straight to start the second quarter and led 32-5 at halftime after forcing nine more turnovers.
“I think our defense was solid,” Tincher said. “We spend a lot of time in tournament basketball trying to get our defense down.”
Bellbrook had 10 players dressed and all scored, led by Kayla Paul who scored 10. Olivia Greathouse followed with nine, Bekah Vine had eight, Brooklynn Hall and Brooke Tincher scored seven each, Ferguson scored six, Cassidy Hofacker five, Maren Freudenschuss three and Dani Westbrook and Maria Mescher had two each.
“Got some good minutes out of our bench,” Tincher said. “We got everybody in. I’m happy, as a father and coach, to see (Brooke Tincher) knock down a few shots.”
Due to a new rule from the Ohio High School Athletic Association, the final 1:03 of the third and the entire fourth quarter were played with a running clock because Bellbrook had a 35-point lead.
“I think that’s the way to go,” Tincher said. “It’s kid focused.”
Naudia Norvell led 8-13 Marshall with three points.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.