The eighth and final game of the inaugural Beacon/TriHealth Holiday Hardwood Classic featured Columbus' Dublin Jerome Celtics out of the Ohio Capital Conference taking on the Conner Cougars of the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference.
Conner opened the scoring with the first four points before Dublin Jerome senior guard Luke Kuhlman got the Celtics on the board. A further 10-3 run by Conner forced Dublin Jerome to call a timeout, trailing by 11 points with 3:32 remaining in the first quarter. After the opening frame, Conner held a 21-10 lead thanks to strong contributions from senior guards Landen Hamilton, Cody Henson, and Ayden Lohr.
The second quarter opened with buckets by Hamilton and Lohr before Dublin Jerome answered with a three-pointer. The fast-paced action continued as both teams seemed content with the transition-style of basketball.
The Celtics stayed in the game thanks to eight straight points from forward Max Hanneman. After Dublin Jerome cut the lead to just nine points midway through the second quarter, Conner exploded in the final three minutes of the half to take a 35-22 lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter, Dublin Jerome opened the scoring before an impressive and-1 by Conner big man Grant Reece. A 9-3 run by Dublin Jerome briefly cut the lead to just seven points, but Dublin Jerome answered with a 7-0 run of their own to pad the lead again. Entering the final quarter, Conner held a 50-37 lead.
The last quarter of the showcase began with another tough bucket by Reece, and Conner extended the lead to 15 points with 6:47 remaining in the game. A late run by Dublin Jerome cut the deficit to 58-49 with 2:23 to go, but ultimately Conner closed it out to earn a 66-57 victory.
Conner's Landen Hamilton was named the Beacon/TriHealth Player of the Game for his effort in the Cougar victory.
Up next, Dublin Jerome will head back home to take on Thomas Worthington on Friday, Jan. 6, while Conner will play a road game at Holy Cross on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Stay tuned to holidayhardwoodclassic.com for more information from the 2022 Beacon/TriHealth Holiday Hardwood Classic and a look ahead to 2023!