The Bethel boys basketball team finished as the Division Three District Runner-Up last week (Photo by Julie Shoopman)

Coach Pleased With Season

One game cannot take away from the success of the Bethel boys’ basketball team this season, but their experience in the district finals was a game they would soon like to put behind them.

Bethel battled well in the opening period, only to let Roger Bacon pull away in the second half, as they defeated the Bees 75-30 to end the Bees with a 21-4 record for the season.

“We didn’t shoot well, and a lot has to do with what they were doing,” said Bethel coach Brett Kopp. “When we got to the rim like the first time we played them this year, Justin Johnson was back and his play at the rim made the difference. We normally can finish at the rim but we couldn’t do that at all.”

Bethel only trailed 12-9 after one period of play after the Bees hit a couple of threes. From there it was all Roger Bacon.

“They just imposed their will and their pressure wore us out,” Kopp said. “They are so consistent. We made an early run in the third quarter then after a couple of turnovers and it was over.”

Caleb South led the Bees with 10 points, but wasn’t on his normal game.

“He was 0-9 inside the 3pt line, and shoots 62% on the season,” Kopp said. “Everyone has a bad day, it just happened to be district finals. All year long, our two main shooters were him and Ryan.”

“Both struggled, Ryan had trouble getting space to get a shot. The district final was the most physical game all year, we didn’t get as physical as we needed to be.”

After the game, Kopp reflected on what a great season the Bees had, including a league title and a sectional championship.

“We knew coming in we had special athletes and a couple transfers to help us. Caleb was coming into his own and we were expecting a big year from him,” Kopp said.

“Ian Anderson and Tyler Terry were also expected for big leadership. They worked hard for me. Sometimes am not the easiest guy to play for, but they gave me a lot of effort.”

“This was the first title since 1982 and another district medal. They won 76% of their games last 2 years. Getting to the point where the district final is expectation and you go from there.”

South and Ryan Rose both were honored by the Associated Press for their season, and Kopp praised the efforts of both.

“When I got the job, he was the best plater I have ever coached,” Kopp said. “He has also become the hardest worker I have had. Everything he got, he has earned. On his off days, he will get in the gym to get better. In the end he will get rewarded.”

“Caleb matured as a leader last half of the year, either vocal or by example. He has gotten the entire point guard position understood by making the correct pass, leadership, and getting the full position down pat.”

“Ryan is the best shooter in the league, and knows his game,” Kopp said. “He is fun to coach. He will shoot after practice for a couple of hours getting shots up. In our Anna game, he tied the school record with seven in the game and he had 68 on the year.”

After an unbeaten conference season and trip to the districts, Kopp feels the future on the Bees looks bright heading into next season.

“We are losing two very good athletes, Ian (Anderson) and Tyler (Terry),” he said. “We have guys coming back like Jacob Evans could be the best defender in our league. He shot 65% from the 3 this year.”

“Daniel Hagen didn’t get the minutes as I would have liked, he can shoot and is physical. Kendal James for being 5-8, may be our best rebounder, he has long arms and great timing. Alex VanHaaren is 6-7 and one of the best shot blockers. Cory Hamlin has been around sports forever, but if I ask him to run through the wall, he asked when and where.”

The Bethel JV also went 18-4 meaning another probable solid season ahead for the Bees.

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lees july 2018
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