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Bethel survives Ahoskie

AHOSKIE – After trailing by as many as 17 points Ahoskie Christian gave Bethel Christian Academy a scare during Thursday night’s consolation game of the Lt. Nick Brantley Scholarship tournament before falling to the Eagles, 65-59.

Bethel took an early 6-0 lead before Zack Walter’s jumper put Ahoskie on the board. After exchanging baskets Bethel got buckets from Shannon Hoggard and Josh Caldwell, stretching their lead to 8 (12-4). Both teams scored nine more points before the end of the first quarter as Bethel held on for a 21-13 advantage.

Stanton Plaunty scored consecutive baskets at the top of the second, cutting Bethel’s lead to six. Then Bethel went on a 10-0 scoring run, including two buckets by Kyle Freeman, as their lead stretched to 14 (29-15).

Two free throws from Plaunty and a Jalen Cooley deuce sandwiched a basket by Caldwell as Ahoskie mounted a comeback. Omari Mitchell added one more Ahoskie bucket before Bethel scored three straight baskets to pull ahead 37-21.

Another Mitchell basket was answered by Caldwell as the Eagles took a 39-23 lead at the half.

Mitchell scored 13 of Ahoskie’s 19 third-quarter points as they outscored Bethel 19-12 to pull within nine (51-42).

Ahoskie chipped away at the Bethel lead before Mitchell’s trey and a bucket by Kyle Simmons tied the score at 55 with 2:59 left in regulation. Mitchell, the games leading scorer with 26 points, fouled out of the game with 1:48 remaining and the score tied at 55.

Simmons scored between two Caldwell baskets to give Ahoskie within two.

Michael Cseko’s bucket and two Caldwell foul shots offset a Cooley free throw. Simmons sank the first of two foul shots before Cseko hit a pair of free throws to seal the win for Bethel, 65-59.

Caldwell led Bethel with 25 points followed by Cseko with 19. Freeman added nine and Shannon Hoggard and Jacob Tayloe had four each.

Mitchell’s 25 led Ahoskie while Cooley contributed 12 points and Plaunty added nine.