Growden’s career night puts Bisons in final

By Michael Boytim

BEDFORD — Jace Growden didn’t miss a shot until midway through the third quarter of Bedford’s District 5-8 Class 4A semifinal game against Somerset Friday.

By that time, the Bisons were up by 40 points, and the mercy rule was already in play.

Growden finished with 41 points and went over 1,000 points for his career in an 89-47 victory over the Eagles.

“I came into it thinking if I scored 20 and we won, great, and if I score 40 and we win, great,” Growden said. “All that matters was getting the win and moving on. I was nervous at the beginning, but after I hit that first shot, I became very confident.”

Growden didn’t even hit the rim on his first six 3-pointers before finally missing his first shot with 3:55 to play in the third quarter. He made nine in the game, including one with 2:10 to play that brought his total to 1,001 for his career.

“Oh my goodness,” Bedford coach Leo Brunelli said. “All we had to do was get him the ball. To hit that milestone tonight took a lot of pressure off everyone. The kid has really gone after it since I’ve been here. It’s a great team milestone, and Jace would be the first one to tell you, you can’t do any of that without his teammates getting him the ball.”

While Growden’s performance was impressive, the Bisons’ lopsided win is sure to open plenty of eyes as well.

Less than three weeks ago, Bedford lost at Somerset, 80-73, when the Eagles made 13 3-pointers. Friday night, Somerset missed its first 20 treys before Spencer Yutzy finally connected late in the third quarter.

“We came out cold,” Somerset coach Joel Kaminsky said. “They took over what we did last game. They were hitting everything. They’ve got some awesome players. They have a good team and a good coach. It wasn’t our night. I wish the best of luck to them.”

Bedford will play the District 8 representative, likely Westinghouse, in the subregional final with a chance to go to the state playoffs on the line.

“Our defense was phenomenal tonight,” Brunelli said. “I just thought we really got out on their shooters and did a great job containing them. We stopped their penetration, and that was the big difference.”

Steven Ressler added 20 points for the Bisons, and Drew Hall, who missed the loss at Somerset, added 12 points.

Bedford finished with 15 3-pointers. Nathan Barnhart led Somerset with 14 points.

The Bisons led 29-4 after one quarter and had a 46-8 lead at one point in the first half.

“We had a couple other good halves,” Brunelli said. “You just want to string as many of those together as you can.”

SOMERSET (47): Swauger 1 2-2 4, Barnhart 7 0-0 14, Yutzy 3 1-2 10, Maranowski 3 0-1 6, DeBlase 6 0-1 13, Reeping 0 0-0 0, Beachy 0 0-0 0. Totals — 20 3-6 47.

BEDFORD (89): Growden 16 0-0 41, Price 1 1-2 3, Ressler 6 6-6 20, Arnold 1 2-2 4, Hall 4 1-1 12, Washington 0 4-4 4, Swaim 0 2-2 2, Vent 0 0-0 0, Koontz 0 0-0 0, Wilson 1 0-0 3, Carpenter 0 0-0 0. Totals — 29 16-18 89.


Somerset 4 14 11 18 — 47

Bedford 29 27 16 17 — 89

3-point goals: Somerset 4 (Yutzy 3, DeBlase); Bedford 15 (Growden 9, Hall 3, Price 2, Wilson).

Records: Somerset (6-17); Bedford (11-11)

Officials: Ron Koppenhaver, Ted Oppegard, Craig Stahl