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Bethel beats Epiphany, finishes third

ASKEWVILLE – Bethel Christian Academy earned third-place honors in their annual tip-off tournament.

The Eagles suffered an 87-75 loss to Summit Christian Academy in the opening round of the tourney, but bounced back to knock off The Epiphany School 65-36 on Saturday.

Shane Tripp led all scorers with 23 points during Saturday’s victory while Kyle Freeman added 19 points. The Falcons were led by Max Seng who had 15 points.

The contest was close throughout the first quarter with the Eagles managing to come out of the first period with a 9-8 lead, but it didn’t last.

Adam Nelson scored the first hoop of the second period to give Epiphany a 10-9 advantage. It was the last lead they held during the contest.

Bethel bounced back to score the next eight points and dominated the second quarter 22-5 as they secured the victory.

Freeman started the run with a hoop and was followed by consecutive buckets by Marky Palmer, Daniel Feher and Tripp to push Bethel ahead 17-10.

Nelson stopped the run momentarily with a free throw, but Tripp came back with another hoop for the Eagles. Seng then scored for the Falcons, but Bethel responded with a 12-0 run to close out the quarter with a 31-13 lead.

Feher started the second spurt and got assistance on the fun from Freeman, Tripp and David Simmons.

The third quarter started with Feher scoring for Bethel to put the Eagles ahead by 20 (33-13).

Foul trouble, however, cost Bethel over the next several minutes as both Freeman and Palmer picked up their third fouls in the early minutes of the third period.

Epiphany took advantage with Seng scoring and then Matt Holdren adding a free throw. They got as close as 15, but Bethel came back in the closing minutes to push their advantage back to 17 points (40-23) after a Freeman bucket.

The Falcons, however, roared back with a bucket by Seng and a free throw from Nelson as they closed within 14 points by the end of the third quarter.

Seng’s bucket to start the fourth quarter trimmed Epiphany’s deficit to 12 (40-28), but Bethel came back with a hoop from Freeman and a triple by Tripp as they opened up a 45-28 lead.

Epiphany came back with a Jacob Glover three-pointer, but Tripp hit a pair of free throws for Bethel before Simmons had a hoop and Freeman scored from behind the arc to push the lead back over 20 points at 52-31.

The Falcons battled back as close as 58-36, but Bethel closed the game on a 7-0 run to seal the victory.

In addition to those in double figures, Bethel got nine each from Feher and Palmer as well as four from Simmons and one from O’Dell.

In the opening round of the tournament, the Eagles fell behind 22-16 in the first quarter, but came back to within 38-36 at the intermission. They trailed by three (59-56) heading into the last period, but missed eight of 11 free throws in the final quarter to suffer a 12-point loss.

Tripp paced Bethel with 40 points in the contest while Freeman had 17 and Feher added nine. Jordan Pope led Summit with 30 points.