MASON — The Bellbrook Golden Eagles girls high school basketball team may have served notice to the rest of Ohio on Friday night in Mason Arena. They’re a pretty good team, and they may just now be hitting their stride.
Bellbrook (18-8) used a feisty zone defense, solid rebounding and precision shooting to thump Cincinnati Roger Bacon, 65-42, to claim the school’s seventh district title.
The veteran Golden Eagles squad slowly extended its lead throughout the first half, leading 17-8 after the first quarter, and doubling up the Spartans (17-8) by a 30-15 count at halftime. Bellbrook then extended that lead to 51-25 after three quarters of play.
A young and up-and-coming Roger Bacon bunch outscored Bellbrook by a 17-14 clip in the final period, but the Golden Eagles’ lead was never seriously threatened.
Bellbrook coach Jason Tincher said he’s seen his Golden Eagles improving for awhile now.
“Yeah, to be honest, I think we’ve been dialed in for the past month, I think we’re really coming on at the right time. In each game, we’re getting a little bit more cohesiveness with the whole unit,” Tincher said. “It’s really fun to watch just how well they’re executing in every aspect of their game right now. And it couldn’t happen at a better time.”
Sophomore guard Brooklynn Hall led all scorers with 20 points, and seniors Cassidy Hofacker and Bekah Vine knocked in 13 points each. Olivia Greathouse and Kayla Paul combined for 14 points, and junior backups Maren Freudenschuss and Maria Mescher added five fourth-quarter points for Bellbrook.
Roger Bacon had been on a five-game winning streak, including tournament wins over Cincinnati Taft and Cincinnati Northwest. Out of the always-tough Greater Catholic League Co-Ed, the Spartans have a bright future as they only lose two non-starting seniors from this year’s team.
Freshman Kylee Sheppard led the Spartans with 13 points scored, and sophomore Kelly Brenner finished with a dozen points in the loss.
Bellbrook will now face either Carroll or Franklin in the regional semifinals. That game is scheduled for March 6 at 6:15 p.m. at Springfield High School.
At halftime, Carroll held a 20-16 lead over the Wildcats.
Golden Eagle seniors Vine and Hofacker say they can feel the cohesiveness that coach Tincher had been talking about. This season’s Golden Eagle squad is a very close-knit unit.
“Everyone is feeling the closeness within this team, and we’re all starting to feel our roles,” Hofacker said. “I think because of that, we’re playing better than we have before. … We haven’t peaked yet. We’re going to keep getting stronger.”
Vine said it helps the starters to know that there will be no letup whenever someone comes off the bench.
“We’re a very complete team right now. Everyone on the bench is as good as each of us on the floor, so subbing works really well,” she said. “And we all like to hang out with each other, we get along well and I think that shows when we play together on the court.”
Friday’s district title is the seventh such trophy in Bellbrook school history. Bellbrook lost in the district title match a year ago.
“We’re getting kinda used to coming down here, but I don’t want to take it for granted. It’s really hard to get here,” Tincher said. “Roger Bacon has a lot of talent, and they’re all coming back. I’m sure we’ll see them again sometime in the future.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.