NORTH NEWTON — Look who’s back in first place.
After another topsy-turvy night in the KCAC Saturday that saw some shuffling in the standings, Bethany College is now tied with Saint Mary and Tabor for first place, while Friends fell a game back.
The Swedes did their part with a methodical 81-67 win over ninth-place Bethel in a game that was never in doubt. Bethany was up 39-24 at the half and traded hoops in the second half.
The Swedes, Saint Mary and Tabor are all 9-3 in the conference with three weeks left to play. However, Saint Mary and Tabor both currently own the tiebreaker, having defeated the Swedes in their only head-to-head meetings. Bethany does get to host both teams later this month.
The electric Cody Harris went off for 26 points to lead the Swedes and Jonathan Gidson came off the bench for 20. Gary Jones, in his second game back after an eight-game suspension, provided 17 points and seven rebounds as the Swedes are a different team with him.
Bethel scoring machine Adam Arciniega, who didn’t start, came off the bench for 20 points and was equaled by Deven Goodwin, who became eligible for the Threshers the second semester.
“The thing that stands out about this game is our 24 assists to just 12 turnovers,” Bethany coach Clair Oleen said. “I like that 2-to-1 team ratio. The 24 assists came on 29 made shots. Our players shared the ball well in transition and they shared the ball well making plays in the triangle offense.”
Bethany stays on the road Thursday night playing at always-dangerous Southwestern.
Bethany (81) — Jones 17, McLin 3, Harris 26, Coleman 4, Smith 9, Peterson 2, Gidson 20.
Bethel (67) — Cape 3, R. Alford 2, Kingsley 11, Goodwin 20, Huber 6, Hill 2, Arciniega 20, B. Alford 2, Miller 1.
• BETHEL WOMEN 74, BETHANY 47 — Bethany’s attempt for its first back-to-back wins of the year came up well short as Bethel buried the Swedes in the second half, outscoring them by 20.
“It was really disappointing to see how tentative and almost scared we seemed to be in the first 5 minutes,” Bethany coach Brett Morehouse said. “We knew it would be a physical game, but we also knew we would have to play through some contact and finish on both ends. I thought we had built up some confidence with the way that we closed the first half, but in the second half things fell apart as we continued to force shots and settle for outside jumpers.”
Royce Shields and Nilija Lala Burnett scored 10 points apiece for the Swedes, who were just 18 of 61 from the field and 9 of 17 at the line. April Harpe had a double-double for Bethel with 23 points and 13 rebounds. All 12 Bethel players scored.
Bethany is now 1-11 in the KCAC and 2-22 overall. It plays Thursday at Southwestern.
Bethany (47) — Davis 2, Shields 10, Shetlar 3, Chanco 8, Norton 2, Cleveland 2, Stewart 4, Jackson 6, Burnett 10.
Bethel (74) — Harpe 23, Durant 4, Ebenkamp 4, Ulrich 15, Zerger 3, McKinney 4, Green 7, Gerlach 5, Tschetter 2, Chapple 1, Scott 2, Schunn 4.