Bethel runs by Gramercy

Published 5:24 pm Sunday, January 16, 2011

ASKEWVILLE – Finishing is what matters.

While Bethel Christian Academy didn’t start well here Friday night, they finished in fine fashion as the Eagles knocked off Gramercy Christian School 65-44.

The Eagles placed three in double digits during the evening including Kyle Freeman with 24 points, Shane Tripp with 21 and Daniel Feher with 14.

While the end came out positive for the Eagles, who improved to 13-4 overall and 2-1 inside the North Carolina Christian Athletic Conference, the beginning wasn’t as stellar.

Bethel led 2-1 after a Freeman bucket early on, but Gramercy raced away to a 12-6 lead before the Eagles got going again. The Warriors got hoops from Jake Mclaughlin, Will Anderson and a triple off the hands of Arjun Patel to take the six-point edge.

Tripp then converted a three-point play with 1:58 to play in the first quarter to close the gap to 12-9. Daniel Feher added a field goal seconds later and the deficit was down to one.

A Mclaughlin three-point play pushed Gramercy back in front by four, but Tripp had a hoop followed by a three-point play from Freeman that gave Bethel a 16-15 edge. Tripp added another hoop before the quarter closed to give the Eagles an 18-15 lead.

Bethel stretched the lead to 22-17 after Freeman scored with an assist from Tripp, but Gramercy came back. The Warriors rolled off six of the next eight points to close the gap to 24-23.

Feher, however, combined with Freeman for two straight hoops as the Eagles extended their edge to 28-23.

The Warriors again came back with back-to-back three-pointers, the last of which came from Patel, as Gramercy edged ahead 29-28. The Warriors continued to add to that lead and took a 34-31 advantage into the locker room at the intermission.

The third quarter saw the home team come out with a renewed focus as the Eagles scored the first eight points in a row to surge ahead 39-34. Freeman had three of those buckets and Feher added one.

Mclaughlin stopped the spurt with a three-point play, but Freeman and Tripp each had three-point plays as Bethel moved ahead 45-36. Tripp and Feher added two more hoops each before the third quarter ended and Bethel led 49-36.

Mclaughlin added the first two points of the fourth quarter, but Bethel rolled off 10 unanswered to put the game out of reach. Freeman had six points on the spurt while Tripp and Feher added two points each. Bethel led 59-38.

Following an exchange off hoops, Gramercy Head Coach Gordon Churchill conceded and sent in wholesale substitutions with Bethel Interim Coach Tommy Tripp doing the same.

The reserves played the rest of the contest with Bethel getting scores from Adam Fairless and Zach Bazemore while Paul Waligora scored for the Warriors.

“We had 11 turnovers in the first half, but couldn’t capitalize on them,” Tripp said. “In the second half, we did a better job of converting. Our defensive intensity was much better in the second half.

“Daniel did a great job of getting defensive rebounds and hitting the outlet passes which we converted better in the second half,” Tripp said. “We got some easy baskets.”

In addition to those in double figures, the Eagles got two from David Simmons and two each from Fairless and Bazemore. Feher, who recorded a double-double on the night, led the rebounding efforts with 19 while Tripp just missed a double-double with nine boards. He added five assists while Freeman had four.

The win boosted Bethel to 13-4 overall and 2-1 in the league.