Miami East boys top Bethel in D-III sectional action


VANDALIA — The Miami East boys basketball team has accomplished the first goal and is ready for the next challenge.

Bethel first-year coach Jack Brooks saw a lot of positives in his first season as coach.

Miami East, 16-6, picked up its first tournament win in five years Wednesday in Vandalia D-III sectional action at the SAC, defeating 10-14 Bethel 61-42.

“We hadn’t won a sectional game in five years,” Miami East coach Justin Roeth said. “When we asked the boys at the beginning of the year to write down their biggest goal, almost all of them wrote down to win a sectional tournament game.”

Now comes the challenge of playing one of the top teams in the state in 22-1 Versailles at 4 p.m. Saturday in the district semifinal for a Miami East team that starts four sophomores and a junior.

“Versailles has a great coach and a great team,” Roeth said. “No matter where you went, you were going to have to beat a really good team to get out of sectionals. Especially in our sectional, it was loaded. We are excited to have the opportunity to play such a high caliber team and get another shot at competing against them.”

While disappointed with the way it ended, Brooks squad won a tournament game and had a lot of positives during the season.

“I felt like there were a lot of positives this season,” he said. “And based on the emotion of the kids in the locker room after the game, they did too.”

With the 1-2 combo of Wes Enis and Jacob Roeth on fire, the Vikings jumped out to a 10-0 lead and the Bees — who had split with East during the season, were never able to slow that momentum.

“Those are two really good players,” Brooks said. “When they are on, there is not much you can do.”

Roeth looks back at the early season loss to Bethel as a blessing in disguise.

“That loss came early in the season,” Roeth said. “Playing at Bethel in that atmosphere was a really difficult atmosphere. It was a close game and we just needed to learn to finish. Looking back, we finished the season pretty strong and that loss was a game that probably really helped us.”

Enis was nine of 16 from the floor with 26 points, nine rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocked shots.

Roeth was 10 of 18 from the floor in scoring 23 points with six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

That paved the way for the Vikings, who led 15-5, 30-16 and 47-26 at the quarter breaks.

Enis got the Vikings off to a fast start and after Bethel had closed within 27-16 at the half, Roeth hit a bomb at the buzzer before East maintained control in the second half.

Mitchel Kemp had eight rebounds and Connor Apple had four assists an two blocked shots.

Casey Keesee led Bethel with 14 points and three steals.

Mike Halleg added nine points.

East was 24 of 52 from the floor for 46 percent, including six of 15 from beyond the arc for 40 percent. The Vikings made seven of nine free throws for 77 percent.

Bethel was 16 of 46 from the floor for 34 percent, including five of 16 from long range for 31 percent.

The Bees made five of eight free throws for 62 percent.

East won the battle of the boards 32-23 and had 11 turnovers to Bethel’s 12.

The Vikings face their biggest challenge of the season — after losing 69-60 to Versailles in regular season.

After checking off one big goal Wednesday night.

No posts to display