"Somehow, we just found a way to get it done," stated Bellmont senior Ben Baker, after a pair of incredible wins over Yorktown (34-31) and Fort Wayne Snider (34-27) Wednesday night earned the Braves their 15th trip to the IHSAA Team State Wrestling Finals.
FT. WAYNE— From the time the Cadets of Concordia got the tip, swung the basketball to the corner for the three-point shot, and Marq Rogers stepped out of bounds negating the tri-fecta, Bellmont knew they had a shot. The omen proved to be just another case of "almost" for the Braves this season as they lost another heart-breaker to a more athletic foe in Condordia 69-60 on Tuesday night.
MONROE—The Jessica Rupright and Company Road Show visited Adams Central Tuesday night and the state-ranked Norwell girls basketball team easily handled Adams Central by a 74-28 count in non-conference action.
Rupright led a Norwell contingent that saw four Knights hit double figures on offense as Norwell hiked its record to 18-3 on the season. Rupright dominated the Jets inside as she hit 13-14 shots (she also missed her only three-point shot) and posted all 26 of her points from the field.
"We're looking at possible matchups with Yorktown, and I'm just happy to be doing that," said Bellmont wrestling coach Brent Faurote, whose Braves survived a three-way sectional run-off with neighbors Adams Central and South Adams Saturday at Jay County.
"We could be focusing on individual stuff because we had to battle back to get where we are. I'm just glad to be in this position," stated the coach.
PORTLAND — Bellmont roared back from 23 points down midway through the meet and somehow held off a resilient Adams Central squad in the topsy-turvy final round to squeak out their 22nd consecutive sectional wrestling title Saturday in a mad thee-way wrestling race at Jay County.
When the dust had settled in a final round, which saw six lead changes on the team scoreboard, the Braves had 228 points to the 222 of Central and 212 of South Adams, which rolled through the finals with five champions.
BERNE— While the boys were out wrestling at Jay County, there was another cross-county rivalry going on at the Stardome where the Lady Starfires hosted the Lady Jets of Adams Central where the Jets got the better of the home team, 52-38 during their Saturday night ACAC contest.
"We knew we were going to have to play 32 minutes tonight," AC coach Sam Beer said after the contest. "They play hard the entire game and we never let up."
BLUFFTON—The Braves captured nine of 12 events Thursday night enroute to a lopsided 120-66 swimming victory over Bluffton at the Tigers' pool.
Most of the Bellmont victories were by decisive margins with only Matt Hartman's win in the 100 breaststroke coming in at under one second. Hartman topped teammate Mason Schultz 1:21.60 to 1:22.36.
Area wrestling fans beware, Saturday's Jay County Wrestling Sectional could come down to the last takedown.
It could be that close.
"It's wide open, and I know that going in," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote, who will try to coach his Braves to a 22nd straight sectional crown.
After a cat-and-mouse event for the first period that concluded with a 6-4 Wayne lead, the Generals took its defense out of the bag and handed the Bellmont Squaws a 47-35 non-conference girls basketball loss Tuesday night at the Teepee.
Pictured, left to right, are: Madison Carroll, Alyssa Keller, Jenae Blackburn, Lindsey McDougall and Leah Spangler making the best of one of their last games at home in a Jets' uniform. (Photo by Cassandra Lehman)