C-J overcomes 20 point deficit to reach the Regional Final

Vandalia, Ohio — Tippecanoe and Chaminade Julienne faced off on Thursday night at Vandalia Butler High School to decide who would face Bishop Watterson in the Division II Regional Final on Saturday.

C-J has become a perennial powerhouse in Dayton basketball, while Tipp is a team that has its deep tournament runs seasons every couple of seasons. This year is one of those seasons. Senior guard Ben Knostman has been dominant all year long. He’s one of the few players that will go to a division college for basketball from Dayton as he’s committed to Winthrop University.

The last time Tippecanoe made it this far in the tournament was back in 2007 where they fell to the Dunbar Wolverines in the Regional Semi-final. The x-factor in this matchup would be Dan Nauseef. When Nauseef plays well defensively, the Eagles are a tough team to beat.

Tippecanoe got off to a hot start. Zach Frederick was on fire from behind the arc as he drilled multiple threes. Ben Knostman showed off why he’s one of the top players in the city as well as he was nearly unstoppable in the first quarter. Tipp got off to a 7-0 run to start and led 23-11 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was more of the same as Tipp extended their lead to 39-19 with three minutes remaining. Knostman used his elite passing ability to set his teammates up with easy buckets and put his team out in front. A tough stepback three at he buzzer from C-J freshman Jonathan Powell cut the halftime deficit to 42-28.

Charlie Szabo’s halftime adjustments is what kept the Eagles alive. He switched Kenyon Owens onto Knostman which paid off big time. Owens shut down the MVL player of the year and with a pair of threes from sharpshooter Luke Chandler, suddenly C-J only trailed 50-41 heading into the fourth.

A fast-break dunk from Dan Nauseef cut the Tipp lead to 50-45 with six minutes remaining. Then following a pair of baskets from Evan Dickey and A.J. Solomon, Nauseef’s up and under layup gave C-J their first lead with just four minutes remining in the game.

Following Dan Nauseef’s chasedown block on Knostman, A.J. Solomon made a pair of huge free-throws to extend C-J’s lead to 56-52 with 1:47 left. Knostman scored making it 56-54 and then after a missed Nauseef layup, Knostman was fouled. He went 1/2 from the line which kept the Eagles leading 56-55. Then with a little over a minute remaining, Gavin Garlitz picked up his fifth foul and was forced to sit for the rest of the night.

Both Evan Dickey and Jonathan Powell had free-throws opportunities late and they each hit the first and missed the second. This meant Tipp was still alive as they trailed 58-55 with 30 seconds left. Head coach Adam Toohey burned a timeout to talk it over with his team. The Red Devils handed it to Zach Frederick who had the hot hand in the first half and his game-tying three at the horn was too strong as C-J survived and held on and trailing by twenty to win 58-55.

Nauseef finished with a game high 19 points and led his team to the comeback from behind victory. Freshman Jonathan Powell had 14 points and Luke Chandler had 9 points for the Eagles. Ben Knostman finished with 14 points to end his career. C-J will advance to play Bishop Watterson who upset the no. 1 seed in McNicholas in double overtime. That game will be at Butler on Saturday at 1 pm.

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