ELIDA — Bellefontaine gets credit for winning the battle but the war goes to Elida.
The Chieftans came to the Fieldhouse and wanted to slow the game down by taking anywhere from 30 to 40 seconds off the clock on every possession.
Throw in a one-three defense, with a chaser on Dakota Mathias, and Bellefontaine (10-10) took a 26-24 lead to halftime after hitting on 11-of-18 field goals — good for 61 percent — to start the game.
The Bulldogs responded by outscoring the Chieftans 13-7 in the third period to grab a 37-33 lead going to the final period of play.
Aric Thompson hit two early 3-pointers to start the second half and Mathias added five points on a trey along with two free throws to pace the Bulldogs (12-8) to the lead.
“They were able to take a lot of time off the clock on each possession so it was big for us when we took the lead,” Elida coach Denny Thompson said. “Aric made enough shots to give us a cushion and Marquevious Wilson gave us some good minutes off the bench.”
Wilson ended the contest with eight points that included six in the final period, he also pulled down seven rebounds for the night.
Austin Allemeier also had six fourth-quarter points on his way to a 10-point game for the Bulldogs.
Bellefontaine got 11 points from A.J. Gorham while Matt Gump and Logan Mitchell each added 10 points to the Chieftans total.
Aric Thompson led the way for Elida with a game-high 18-point effort and Mathias finished with 12 points, three assists, and four steals.
Elida pulled down 29 rebounds to 24 for the taller Bellefontaine squad and committed 10 turnovers to 13 for the Chieftans.
“Allemeier had some big offensive rebounds for us tonight,” coach Thompson said. “Tuesday night games are different for us but they are a tune-up for the tournament.”
The Bulldogs shot 45 percent from the field as they connected on 20-of-44 that included 8-of-23 on 3-pointers. Bellefontaine finished the evening at 44 percent on their 19-of-43 effort and connected on 5-of-13 on treys.
Elida returns to action Friday night when the team travels to Celina in a key Western Buckeye League showdown.
BULLDOG NOTES: The college coaching parade continued Tuesday night as a Butler coach was in attendance to watch Dakota Mathias. Purdue head coach Matt Painter was at last Friday’s Bath-Elida game and Dayton and Virginia representatives have also seen Mathias in action this season.