Brian Johnson Special Correspondent
The Ada News
BETHEL ACRES —
Byng, plagued by 16 turnovers, fell into an early hole and was unable to recover as the Heritage Hall Chargers knocked off the Pirates 56-41 Thursday night in the weather-delayed finals of the Bethel High School CD Warehouse Classic.
The championship game was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, Jan. 12, but it was pushed back five days due to traveling concerns associated with winter weather.
Byng, which dropped to 9-7 with the loss, committed six turnovers in the first quarter alone against Heritage Hall pressure, fell into an 8-2 hole and trailed 22-11 after eight minutes.
“They shot extremely well (48.8 percent for the game). You have to give them credit, but I was disappointed in our defense in the first half. In the second half, I thought we defended better,” said Byng head coach Trent Miller. “We had way too many turnovers. Our turnovers equated to layups for them.”
Tanner Tepe, behind 6-of-9 shooting overall, was 3-of-4 from 3-point range and finished with a game-high 18 points for the Chargers, while teammate Chris Hamilton sank a pair of treys, was 4-of-4 from the line and finished with 14 points to go with four steals.
Peter Leforce, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, finished with eight points, grabbed four boards and recorded three assists.
The loss overshadowed a magnificent performance by 6-foot, 3-inch junior forward Joe Nemecek, who tossed in 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Nemecek was 7-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-3 from the line.
“Joe Nemecek played well and did a good job,” Miller said.
Nemecek, who was named to the all-tournament team, averaged 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds for the three games. That included a 50-35 first-round win over Newcastle and a 47-41 semifinal victory over host Bethel. He also shot 66.7 percent (14-of-21) for the three games.
Joining Nemecek on the all-tournament team was junior Reid Wall, who finished with eight points, four rebounds and a pair of steals in Thursday’s title game. He averaged 10.0 points for the three-game classic and totaled nine steals for the three games combined.
One other Pirate reached double figures on Thursday as sophomore guard Jacob Birdshead tallied 10 on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from 3-point territory.
Byng totaled 10 assists on its 17 field goals as Dineh Bohan led the way with three to go with his four points.
But the Pirates struggled with their shot the entire night, converting just 37.8 percent of their tries (17-of-45), including only 3-of-15 from outside the arc.
Byng’s only lead of the game was 2-0 when Nemecek scored off a nice penetrating feed from Wall just 13 seconds into the contest. The Chargers then went on an 8-0 run to keep the lead for good.
In building the 11-point advantage by the end of the first quarter, Heritage Hall drilled four 3-pointers to go along with two old-fashioned 3-point plays. Tepe and Hamilton each knocked down two long-range jumpers during that span, while Lindsay Deline and Tepe each executed a conventional 3-point play.
Byng’s Kiyaanii Bohan fouled out after knocking down one 3-pointer while finishing with five boards and two steals.
Heritage Hall had just seven turnovers on the night.