Bellmont guard Joe Baker drilled in two three-point shots on consecutive possessions to start the second period to give the Braves a 24-21 lead Tuesday night and the Braves never trailed thereafter enroute to a 70-63 triumph over county rival Adams Central at the Teepee.
Baker finished the night with a game-high 20 points as he hit five of his six trey attempts in leading Bellmont to a 23-45 shooting night for just over 50 percent. Perhaps an even bigger performance came from sophomore forward Matt Chronister who was promoted to the varsity level by coach Larry Patterson and earned his first varsity start. Chronister hit his first seven shots of the game and tallied 16 points for the Braves before fouling out with 4:30 to play in the game.
"I don't think Mr. Baker (John, reserve coach) will be seeing much of Matt anymore this year at the junior varsity level," pronounced Patterson after reviewing Chronister's effort.
The physical contest turned somewhat into a parade to the charity stripe and Adams Central made the most of it hitting an amazing 29-32 from the line including 8-8 performances by both Nathan Busse and Isaac Luginbill. Those two finished the night in double figures at 10 and 13 respectively but the Jets were led in scoring by Maverick Baumer who totaled 15 points and he also pulled down six rebounds to top AC in that category as well.
Bellmont had nearly as many tries from the free throw line as Adams Central with 28 but converted just 18 with the Jets owning an 11 point advantage from the line.
The Braves outpointed Adams Central 22-10 in the second period and went from being down 21-18 after the first period to going up by as many as 10 in the second eight minutes at 40-30 on a Kyle Lehrman bucket. Baumer concluded the scoring in the period with a free throw with 1:12 to play for a nine-point BHS edge at the half.
Adams Central jumped out early in the second half as Baumer hit two free throws and nailed a three-pointer to put the Jets right back in the thick of things at 40-36 but later in the period, it was again the three-point shooting of Baker that padded the Bellmont advantage back to 10 at 55-45 as two of his treys were sandwiched around two Busse freebies.
Nick Fuelling gave the Braves an even bigger edge at 57-45 on a hoop but Ben Snider's basket and Luginbill's two free throws sliced the lead to eight at the buzzer.
Luginbill's play at the beginning of the fourth stanza brought the large Adams Central crowd to its feet as he drained two free throws and then hit a three-pointer and suddenly the Jets trailed by only three at 57-54 with 5:43 to play.
Chronister, who had missed two free throws badly earlier in the half, came back to hit two in a row for the Braves but Baumer's basket kept the BHS lead at three with 5:12 remaining. Kyle Fawcett hit one of two from the line for AC to make it 59-57 and Bellmont slowly stretched the lead to 63-57 as sophomore Josh Hall hit two from the line while Fuelling and Baker both added one of two.
Adams Central managed to get back to within three at two occasions at 64-61 and again at 66-63. Bellmont worked almost 22 seconds off the clock before the Jets had to foul Hall with :35.7 to play and his two shots from the line pumped the Braves up to a 68-63 lead.
The Jets tried to work the ball inside against the Braves but Lehrman stuffed a Jet shot with 20 seconds to play, Fuelling quickly grabbed the rebound and found a wide open Hall cruising in for a lay-up for the final score of the night.
"The wheels on our bus wobbled a little tonight but didn't fall off," Patterson remarked after the game, adding "I was real proud of our effort and real proud of our bench play tonight."
AC coach Aaron McClure said the Jets played well and made runs to chop the Bellmont lead down in the final period but "Bellmont made the plays when they had to. Joe Baker stepped up and hit two threes in transition and another one when we had a player right there with a hand in his face."
The AC coach praised his team's performance from the foul line noting "we've got some really good foul shooters. We'd slipped a little under 75 percent in recent games but our free throw shooting tonight kept us in the game. To their credit, Bellmont made some free throws down the stretch that they had to make to get the win."
McClure said Chronister "bothered us on offense as he took up a lot of space inside. We gave up too much guard penetration in the first half and he simply finished the deal making the shots he should. I think if there was something we could point at as being the cause of our loss tonight it would probably be the way we played defense there in the first half."
Patterson said he felt the play of Chronister and Hall was especially big for the Braves. "Matt has really worked hard in practice and took advantage of getting some playing time tonight. Josh is not really offensively minded, but he hit some key free throws down the stretch and he took advantage of playing time opportunities as well. I thought they both played extremely well."
The three-point shooting of Baker was also lauded by his coach. "Joe's very capable to shooting the three-point shot. I thought we were a little more patient tonight on offense and when that second or third extra pass is made, if often comes back to him and he's open for that shot," Patterson noted.
The Braves were without the services of usual starting guard Payton Selking whose back injury kept him out of action.
The Braves evened their record at 3-3 (all three wins have come against ACAC teams) and will vie for county bragging rights next Tuesday as they travel to rival South Adams at the Stardome. The Jets fell to 5-3 on the season and will try to go to 3-0 in the ACAC when the go to Garrett on January 8.
In the reserve game, Bellmont never trailed but certainly made it interesting by giving the Jets a chance to tie the game with two seconds remaining to play by giving up a foul on a three-point shot with a 46-43 lead.
AC missed the first charity toss, made the second, and when Bellmont rebounded the missed third try and was fouled, they finished the night hitting one of two from the line for the final 47-44 triumph.
The Jets had several ties in the game but could never grab a lead. Alex Byerly and Pierce Harris led the Jets in scoring with 14 and 12 while Bellmont's Jacob Schueler netted 14.
Bellmont 70, Adams Central 63
2PG 3PG FT TP
Ka.Fiechter 0-2 0-0 0-0 0
Ke.Fiechter 0-2 1-1 4-4 7
Busse 1-4 0-2 8-8 10
Luginbill 1-5 1-4 8-8 13
Brooks 1-2 0-0 0-0 2
Baumer 3-6 1-3 6-8 15
Combs 2-4 1-5 0-0 7
Snider 1-2 0-1 3-4 5
Fawcett 1-2 0-1 3-4 5
Totals 11-29 4-16 29-32 63
2PG 3PG FT TP
Fullenkamp 0-0 0-0 3-4 3
Baker 2-7 5-6 1-2 20
Fuelling 2-8 1-3 6-8 13
Lehrman 3-7 0-0 2-6 8
Smith 1-1 0-0 0-0 2
Macklin 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-
Hall 2-2 0-0 4-4 8
Chronister 7-10 0-1 2-4 16
Totals 17-35 6-10 18-28 70
Score by Quarters
AC 21 10 18 14 63
Bellmont 18 22 17 13 70
Officials: E. J. Carroll, Todd Morgan, Dave Stauffer
Rebounds: AC 23 (Baumer 6, Snider 4), Bellmont 24 (Fuelling 9, Chronister 7, Baker 6)
Assists: AC 3 (Luginbill 2), Bellmont 17 (Baker 4, Fuelling 4, Hall 4)
Steals: AC 5 (Busse 2), Bellmont 7 (Baker 2)
Turnovers: AC 14, Bellmont 14
Team Fouls: AC 21, Bellmont 23 (Chronister 5)
Bellmont 47, Adams Central 44 (JV)
ADAMS CENTRAL: Alex Byerly 5-0-14, Pierce Harris 6-0-12, Hayden Black 3-2-8, Zach Agler 2-0-5, Nathan Barger 0-4-4, Nick Baumer 0-1-1, Anthony Spangler 0-0-0. Totals: 16-7-44.
BELLMONT: Jacob Schueler 5-2-14, Lance Vergara 4-1-9, Mason Selking 1-4-7, Matt Stidam 3-0-7, Ross Smith 2-1-5, Max Collier 1-1-3, Jordan Jauregui 1-0-2, Brett Hormann 0-0-0, Noah Tinsley 0-0-0. Totals: 17-9-47.