Bethel opened up a close game in the first half, and had no trouble defeating Troy Christian 59-30 in a non-conference matchup last week in Tipp City.

The Bees held a slim two point lead after the opening period, only to score 23 points in the second period, opening a 29-15 lead at the break.

The woes continued for Troy Christian in the second half, as they shot a rough 24 percent from the field and watched as the Bees added to their lead, pushing their advantage out to 44-23 heading to the fourth. From there, the Bees just continued to increase on their lead, as they connected on eight three-pointers en route to the win.

Caleb South led the way for the Bees with 16 points, while Ian Anderson added 14. Troy Christian was led in scoring by Seth Wynne with nine points.

“Ray (Zawadzki) is a great coach, and I knew we knew we would be in for a battle,” said Bethel coach Brett Kopp. “Our kids were ready. Once we started playing on the defensive end. It was a great win to start the new year.”

“The loss to Twin Valley South really refocused us, and when we are active, we are a much better team.”

For Zawadzki, it was a rough night from the field for the Eagles.

“Bethel applied a lot of pressure to our shooters and they are very good defensively,” Zawadzki said. “When shots don’t fall, it’s like a disease and it spread among everyone. We were 5-28 in first half.”

On Friday, Troy Christian lost 48-30 to Middletown Christian.

“We had the lead when James was injured and it was a big blow for us emotionally and a he’s such a physical presence,” Zawadzki said. “It’s the second time we’ve lost our leading scorer and rebounder this year. We have dealt with a lot of adversity for this young team, and now we will find out about our character. We will work kids in different roles and find a new offense that will work.”

Brown led with nine points.

Bethel heads to Miami East on Friday. Troy Christian hosts Emmanuel Christian on Friday, then Saturday they are at Franklin Monroe.

*Both the Troy Christian and Bethel girls’ teams were in action last week also. Bethel traveled to Northeastern and after only scoring two points in the opening period, the Bees dropped a 41-32 decision to the Jets.

Bethel’s defense did a good job early, as they held Northeastern to only four points in the opening period, as the Jets led 4-2 after eight minutes. The host Jets then built an 18-10 lead at the half.

The Bees fought back to close their deficit after the third period, as they only trailed 27-23 heading to the fourth, but the Jets withstood any Bees comeback bid and went on to the non-league victory.

Becky Schweiterman led the Bees with 12 points, while Alaina Hawthorn added 11. Kayla Grable scored five for Bethel.

The Bees also lost to Covington 49-33 last week in league play.

*Troy Christian (6-3) also pulled off a big league victory over Xenia Christian last week, earning a 38-27 victory. A couple of weeks earlier, Xenia Christian defeated Troy Christian 55-37, but the Eagles came out and turned the tables last week.

The Eagles started the game out strong, leading 9-1 after the first quarter before Xenia Christian cut the lead to 15-14 at the half.

Troy Christian won the second half, as the post players controlled the boards for the Eagles.

Lauren Lavy led Troy Christian with 12 points and five rebounds, while Hailey Peters added nine points and 14 rebounds, Kathryn Lee scored seven points with 12 boards, and Meredith Haddad contributed six points and eight rebounds. The Eagles shot 50 percent from the field, but struggled at 10-31 from the free throw line. Xenia Christian standout Katie Riddle came into the game needing 10 points for 1,000 for her career, was held to eight by the Eagles freshman Kinley Blake.

“They had beaten us earlier so our kids were ready to play the second time around,” said Troy Christian coach Dick Steineman. “They are athletic and puts points on the boards. We cut down on their breaks and hit the boards.”

“It was a big win for us and gave us confidence.”