The Bethel Warriors were the only public school to advance to the 3A State Championship semifinal round, and in their semifinal matchup they faced the Grizzleys of Grace Christian Schools.
The Grizzleys bench one of the deepest in the State, while Bethel’s bench has been diminished in size due to an ankle injury to starter Taylor Hoffman in the second quarter of the Championship Quarterfinal on Thursday.
The Grace Christian starters and bench-players showed their might early on in the game with dominating play from their ‘bigs’ in the opening quarter to take a 16-10 lead after the first.
The Grizzleys outscored the Warriors by ten points in the second quarter, adding 17 to their total to take a 33-17 lead into the locker room at the half.
The third quarter was the only quarter in which Bethel would outscore Grace Christian, but Bethel’s 20-point quarter would prove to be moot as Grace Christian would add 19 points of their own to go up 52-37 at the end of the third quarter.
The Warriors continued to play hard, but nearly every score by the Bethel would be answered- and then some- by the Grizzleys. Eventually Coach David Cronk Jr would see things for what they were, and would allow the younger players to get floor-time on the big stage.
By the fourth quarter’s end Grace Christian had more than cemented their place in the Championship Final, sending Bethel to Saturday’s 3rd place game by a final tally of 68-47.
Grace Christian’s Eric Johnson lead all scorers with 34 points. Bethel was led in scoring by Theodore Naneng’s 24 points.
The 3rd place game will be played at UAA on Saturday at 10:40am. KYUK 640AM will have live play-by-play coverage.