BOWLING GREEN – There was nothing but silence at the Stroh Center.
Just two minutes into Thursday’s Division II boys regional semifinal game at Bowling Green State University, Bath’s Logan Rockhold attempted to block a shot on a Cleveland Benedictine fast break and fell awkwardly on his left arm.
The senior guard was taken off the floor on a stretcher and never returned.
However, from that moment on Bath took the game over, hitting shots from both the perimeter and in transition, en route to a 60-41 victory over Benedictine in its first-ever trip to regionals.
With the victory, Bath (23-4) will take on Columbus Bishop Watterson (25-1) in the regional championship Saturday at 3 p.m. Bishop Watterson defeated Sandusky Perkins 53-34 in Thursday’s other semifinal.
“Honestly, my first reaction is that I’m mad,” Bath coach Doug Davis said about Rockhold’s fall. “But, then it was obvious that it was serious. So, I went out there with Logan for a while. When I came back (to the bench) the players were talking and trying to pick one another up.
“I just let them know that, ‘Don’t think that any one of you has to do it all. We got this far playing together as a team and we’re going to continue playing that way’.”
Logan Rockhold’s twin brother Conner, said it was just the way his brother played the game – all out.
“When he first went down, I wasn’t sure how serious it was,” Conner said. “Then I saw how Colin (Gossard) and Taren (Sullivan) reacted and saw they were concerned. It’s such a big game and he’s been looking forward to it for so long. I hate to see it end like that. But, in the end, it was his heart and passion to not give up an open layup. So, he gave it his all, that’s for sure.”
Bath had four players score in double figures. Sullivan led the Wildcats with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Cole Chambers scored 12 points and had six boards. Conner Rockhold and Gossard each added 11 points. Hayden Atkins came off the bench and contributed nine points, including two 3-pointers.
For the game, Bath shot 43 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc (10-for-25).
Bath won the battle on the boards, 33-23. The Wildcats scored 13 points on second-chance attempts and 19 points off turnovers.
Bath jumped out to a 20-5 first-quarter lead and never looked back.
Sullivan led the way for the Wildcats, scoring nine points (all 3-pointers) in the first quarter.
By the halftime break, Bath had pushed its lead to 29-12. The Wildcats led 45-25 by the end of the third quarter. Their largest lead of the game was 22 points.
“We got off to a really good start and Taren was hitting,” Davis said. “And when Hayden (Atkins) came into the game, he knocked down a couple shots and gave us a really good first half. Tyler Baxter (five rebounds) came in and played well against their big guys.
“I thought the quick start was really valuable. And when we got the big lead at the end, then we were able to spread the floor a little bit and create some things that way.”
T.J. Steele, a 5-foot-5 guard, led Benedictine with 19 points, including five 3-pointers. The Bengals shot 36 percent from the floor.
Benedictine coach Albert Wilson praised Bath’s effort.
“I give them credit. They played very disciplined out there and made their shots,” he said.
Ticket information: Bath regional boys’ basketball ticket sales will be on today from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. in the high school office. Tickets for team personnel will be sold from 5 to 5:30 p.m. in the middle school office. All pre-sale tickets are $6.