LINDSBORG — Bethany College’s late-season woes carried over into the postseason.
With super sub Jonathan Gidson and his 16.9 points a game ruled out due to a concussion, the Swedes basically were down to six players and when taken into overtime by Sterling in their KCAC Postseason Tournament opener on Wednesday, the needle was on “E” in an 87-82 loss.
Bethany finished the season 19-11, losing its last four. It was tied for the KCAC lead at 9-3 with three weeks to go, but won only two games after that.
“This team fought through it together and grew very close instead of feeling sorry for themselves,” Bethany coach Clair Oleen said. “I hope people appreciate what a special team this was, I know that I do. When we had everyone for the few games we did, I really believe we were one of the best in the country and we have the signature wins to show for it. Our fans and students were tremendous tonight, we appreciate them and wish we could have given them a 'W'."
Sterling, which had knocked off Bethany this past Saturday in the regular-season finale, charged back from a 72-66 deficit late in the game. Josiah Ray gave Sterling a 73-72 lead with 8.8 seconds left with a basket, but the Swedes forced the overtime on a free throw by Nathan Coleman, though he probably could have won it had he made the other attempt.
Bethany led early in the overtime, but the fatigue factor kicked in and Sterling closed with a rush.
Brandon Stacker’s 23 points led the Warriors, while Braden Thompson scored 20, Rolando Gardner added 14 and Ray tallied 12.
Larry McLin led Bethany with 19 points. Others in doubles were Gary Jones (17), Cody Harris (15), Nathan Coleman (13) and Alex Peterson (12). Peterson was the only Swede to score off the bench. Harris and McLin played 42 and 41 minutes, respectively, and Devin Smith played 38.
Sterling moves on to play at Saint Mary on Saturday.
The Swedes lose Coleman, Smith and Brandon Huskey to graduation.
Bethany (82) — Jones 17, McLin 19, Harris 15, Coleman 13, Peterson 12, Smith 6.
Sterling (87) — Stacker 23, Thompson 20, Gardner 14, Swank 4, Smith 1, Jaderston 5, Oyatayo 5, Givens 2, Smith 1, Ray 12.