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Bethel Baptist Teams Capture Tournament Titles

The Bethel Baptist Christian Academy boys basketball team celebrates its New York-Pennsylvania Christian League championship. Submitted photo

The Bethel Baptist Christian Academy Defenders basketball program in Jamestown has had quite a month, with a clean sweep of three titles.

Two weeks after its boys junior varsity team won a league tournament in Oil City, Pennsylvania, the girls varsity duplicated it and the boys varsity capped off a one-loss league season record by winning its back-to-back New York-Pennsylvania Christian League championships in a tournament hosted at the school on Hunt Road. On Saturday afternoon, the Defenders boys varsity defeated the Christian Life Academy Eagles, 68-43. The Lady Defenders upset the first-seed Bethel Christian Warriors, 52-44.

BBCA hosted the tournament Friday and Saturday that featured girls and boys teams from Bethel Christian School from Erie, Christian Life Academy from Oil City, Calvary Baptist Christian Academy from Meadville, Pennsylvania as well as BBCA.

The boys varsity championship game between the Defenders and CLA Eagles featured a tight first quarter with an 18-15 BBCA advantage. The Defenders then took advantage of CLA turnovers and missed shots to build a 38-20 halftime lead.

The Defenders had balanced scoring through its starters with 14 points apiece from senior center Logan Stutzman and junior guard Zack Rohlin. The Defenders also gained 10 points from sophomore forward Andrew Ryan, and 9 points apiece from senior forward Zack Anderson and sophomore guard Jimmy Nixon.

The Bethel Baptist Christian Academy girls basketball team celebrates its New York-Pennsylvania Christian League championship. Submitted photo

The unselfish team play was typified in a quick score off a turnover in the fourth quarter with the Defenders having a more than 20-point lead and their consecutive tourney championships not in doubt. Stutzman got a steal near half court and brought the ball into their offensive zone. Stutzman stopped with a bounce pass to junior guard Sam Olson, who quickly passed to senior forward Coby Smith, and Smith immediately dished the ball to Anderson for an easy layup.

The Defenders also had strong bench production with 6 points from Olson, 4 points from senior guard Gabe Heilman, and 2 points from freshman guard Brady Smart. Other players on the team are junior Josh Seeley, sophomores Kyle Dahlin and Brandon Peelman and freshman Connor Younger. Smart was the top scorer of the junior varsity tournament on Feb. 8.

The Defenders overcame a tough game Friday evening against the Calvary Thunder with a 49-43 win. The Thunder led most of the game until the Defenders used some strong defense, a few baskets and free throws in the last three minutes of the game to secure their opportunity to repeat as NY-Penn Christian League tournament champions.

The Lady Warriors from Erie were also looking to repeat as league tournament champions for the girls, but the Lady Defenders had an upset in mind. Bethel of Erie defeated BBCA twice during the year.

The Lady Defenders were led with 16 points from sophomore guard Taylor Pascoe and 11 points from freshman guard Korbin Chase, including three 3-pointers. The top rebounders for the Lady Defenders were sophomores J.J. Moore with 9 and Hailey Smith with 8. Eighth-grader Ashlyn Smith had five blocked shots in the upset. Other players on the Lady Defenders are senior Jessie Park, freshman Malorie Ryan, and seventh-grader Riley Pascoe.

The Lade Defenders cruised to a 47-18 win over the CLA Lady Eagles on Friday to earn their opportunity to win the league tourney title.

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