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A rock-solid second half by the Bellmont Braves led by a 19-point game performance by Payton Selking found the Braves posting a 43-39 victory over Heritage at the Teepee on Saturday.
Bellmont took just 15 shots in the second half but made 10 of them as they erased a 23-18 lead that Heritage owned at halftime to go up 31-29 at the end of the third period. In that stanza, Selking danced his way through the Heritage trees for a pair of baskets but perhaps his biggest shot of the night came just before the horn sounded.
With the Braves on the short end of a 29-28 count, they had the ball with just over 11 seconds left and patiently worked the ball around out front before finally finding a wide open Selking on the left side. His 22-footer found nothing but net for the Braves giving them momentum heading into the final eight minutes.
"The way Payton played tonight opens the game for everyone on the team. Heritage had to adjust to his outside shooting while also trying to defend his drive to the basket. That put some of our inside guys more open (Matt Chronister got three baskets inside after being held to none in the first half while Nick Fuelling was good on 2-3 in the second half as well). Payton is a senior this year and he realizes he's going to be responsible for making a lot of big plays for us," noted first year Bellmont coach John Baker.
The Braves, who had not played in over two weeks, now stand at 2-1 and will entertain another ACAC team, Garrett, this coming Wednesday at the Teepee.
Bellmont and Heritage split the prelim games with the Patriots capturing a 37-29 victory in the junior varsity game with Bellmont swept a 47-40 triumph at the freshman level.