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Eagles are regional champs again

Eagles are regional champs again

The Bethesda Christian community up in Brownsburg probably cannot locate Osgood, Indiana on a map but the Patriots sure know the name Jac-Cen-Del all too well.

And this time around it was the Jac-Cen-Del boys basketball team who made their presence felt on Saturday evening in Martinsville. Facing a Bethesda Christian team ranked sixth in the state, the Eagles put together an epic fourth quarter comeback and then held on in the final seconds, upsetting the Patriots to win their second-straight Class A Regional Championship.

Both the girls and boys teams at Jac-Cen-Del are now winners over Bethesda Christian this year in respective regional championships. For the boys program, it is just the second time in history that the Eagles have repeated as regional champs, having last done so during the 1968 and 1969 seasons.

It was an intriguing matchup on paper on Saturday in terms of personnel as Jac-Cen-Del’s height advantage would be matched up against a smaller Bethesda team that prided itself on a plethora of scoring weapons. In the end, both squads had chances to showcase their strengths and a battle ensued for 32 minutes.

Jac-Cen-Del’s size extended to the perimeter in the first quarter as Devin Grieshop drilled two 3-pointers and Matt Dickman canned a triple while three other players for the Eagles hit the score column and paced the Osgood crew to an eye-opening 17-14 lead by the end of the period. But with Bethesda having come on late, it was their turn in the second frame to put momentum in its favor.

As good as Jac-Cen-Del’s offense was in the first quarter, fortunes turned for the worse in the second period and the Eagles were held to only five points while Bethesda fired away to grab the lead. Luke Stuckey added to his first half total with two 3-pointers in the second and Jamsison Chapman was good for five points in the frame as the Patriots took a 29-22 lead into halftime. That seven-point lead would stay intact through the third quarter despite Jac-Cen-Del getting 10 points out of Dickman and five combined points from Grieshop and Gavin Groth.

But facing a deficit in the fourth quarter with a title on the line never phased Clint Bohman and company and what followed was an impressive comeback that ended in jubilation. Using a combination of scoring options, six different Eagles put up a combined 24 points over the final eight minutes in order to get over the hump and claim the regional. Most impressive was the fact that once Jac-Cen-Del had the lead, clutch free throw shooting yet again saved the day for this team in the postseason and preserved a victory.

Jac-Cen-Del was 12-of-14 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter with Grieshop, Dickman and Landon Kohlman never missing a freebie in the period. Clark Dwenger and Johnny Newhart each went 1-for-2 to keep the Eagle lead intact late.
It was a total team effort in all facets for the Eagles who had key performances by all at various points in the game. Dickman’s 14 points in the second half muscled him up to 19 points on the night which led all scorers and Grieshop finished with 16 points after 10 points in the final two quarters. Seth Drockelman pieced together 10 points which included a crucial five points in the fourth period.

Kohlman scored seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter for the Eagles and Dwenger added five points. Groth and Newhart each had one point.
Bethesda (21-5) had three players in double figures but its only other two scorers combined for 15 points. Stuckey led the Patriots with 16 points while Luke Douglas totaled 15 points and Chapman finished at 13 points. Sam Mlagan and Isaac Mlgan scored eight points and seven points respectively.

Jac-Cen-Del (18-9) heads to the historic “Hatchet House” at Washington High School on Saturday for the Class A South Semi-State. The Eagles received a very favorable draw over the weekend and will face Rock Creek Academy (11-14) in the second semifinal game with the winner advancing to the championship game that evening. Rock Creek upset an 18-win Borden team in the finals of Sectional 61 and then throttled New Washington 67-32 in the regional championship.
The first semifinal on Saturday features No. 4 Loogootee (20-7) and No. 8 Indianapolis Lutheran (17-7).