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KENDALLVILLE — "I knew sooner or later I was going to get him. It's hard to beat another good guy four times in a row," stated an exuberant Ben Baker after the BHS senior took down Carroll's Spencer Raypole with three seconds left in the match, winning the 195-pound NHC title with the 3-1 victory Saturday at East Noble.
Baker's impressive victory accounted for one of four BHS championships on the day, and the Braves placed 12 and piled up extra points all day, holding off the hosts and DeKalb to claim the NHC Tourney title.
"We beat two good teams today," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote, who coached a tourney-winning BHS team for the 20th time in 23 years. "We wrestled well. It was a good team effort." The Braves finished second to Carroll last year.
The Braves trailed DeKalb by nine points after two rounds, led by four over the Barons going into the finals but fell behind as DeKalb notched its two crowns early. The Braves' 8-4 mark in the placement round helped them score 211.5 points to the 194 of East Noble, which also went 8-4 in the last round, while DeKalb (4-8) scored 191.
"We didn't quite get it done," stated East Noble coach Keith Hoffar.
"It was a three-team race, so we kind of took each other out, but I'm really proud of my kids. They put themselves in position and performed well in that last round," he added, noting Noble's four champs.
Joining Ben Baker on the top of the podium for BHS were Brooks Faurote at 145, Brad Busse at 182 and Isaac Birch at 220. Faurote and Busse dominated while Birch needed overtime for an 8-3 win.
Baker had the match of the day, defeating the defending champ, who nipped Baker 4-2 earlier in the dual for his third straight win over the Bellmonter.
"Coming into sectional time, it's good to be going like this," stated Brooks Faurote.
The Braves will be seeking a 22nd straight sectional title Saturday at Jay County.