NEW PARIS — National Trail overcame an early 14-0 deficit against visiting Bethel on Friday (Jan. 13) night, but couldn’t hold on down the stretch and suffered a heartbreaking 58-53 defeat to one of the area’s best high school boys’ basketball teams.
The emotional night began with a moment of silence for Oliva Wallace. Wallace, a student at National Trail, died in single-vehicle crash Jan. 7, and the Blazers were playing at home for the first time since. National Trail and Bethel fans, cheerleaders and players wore pink in honor of Wallace.
Bethel, which improved to 11-1, scored the game’s final eight points in the last 1:57 to secure the win in front of a large crowd at National Trail.
The Bees came out of the gate on a 14-0 run to start the game before the gutsy Blazers started chipping away at the lead. Trail got to within four points (26-22) at halftime and eventually secured a lead in the third quarter for the first time when Weston Haws hit two free throws to make it 30-28 with 4:50 remaining the quarter.
The Blazers extended the lead to 10 early in the fourth quarter, 45-35, and led by as many as seven with just over four minutes left in the game behind big second halves by Travis Hunt and Kaleb Deardorff.
Trail still held a 53-50 lead with just under two minutes left, but didn’t score again.
Bethel standout Caleb South scored eight of his 28 and Tyler Terry scored eight of his 11 in Bethel’s late run which culminated in a South layup with just over a minute to play to give Bethel the lead again, 54-53. Free throws sealed the game for the Bees after Trail was unable to connect on a runner in the paint.
Travis Hunt scored 17 for the Blazers, while Dalton Mason finished with 13 and Kaleb Deardorff, 10.
On Tuesday, Trail earned a hard-fought road win at Covington 61-60. Peyton Harrison scored 18 for the Blazers, including five 3-pointers. Deardorff contributed 12 points and 10 boards, while Weston Haws and Tyler Glander had nine and points respectively.
On Saturday, Trail suffered a 76-64 loss to Seton Catholic.
National Trail, now 7-5 overall and 4-2 in the CCC, is scheduled to play at Ansonia on Friday, Jan. 20 and host Preble Shawnee on Saturday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.