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With the clutch Bellmont performance in overtime Tuesday the Bellmont Braves not only broke a 14-game skid in 2011, but the squad also snapped a five-game sectional slide, which started with a 56-47 loss to Concordia in the opening game of the 2006 sectional.
The host Braves beat the Maconaquah Braves (14-6) 59-57 in overtime Tuesday in a game that featured a bizarre finish. It looked like the game was over with Bellmont winning 58-57, but one official noticed Maconaquah calling time out. Seconds were put back on the clock and Maconaquah was issued a technical foul because they didn't have any time outs. Joe Baker missed both free throws, but the Braves got the ball back and Forrest Fullenkamp hit one toss after he was fouled. Time finally ran out on the visiting Braves.
"I'm so proud these kids had the chance to experience winning a sectional game. We're gonna go look at some tape of Peru (the next Bellmont foe Friday night) and see what they have. We'll worry about us and what we need to do but we'll be ready to play," stated coach Larry Patterson, who coached his first winning postseason effort.
In 2005, Bellmont went 24-3 under Shaun Busick, defeating Dwenger, Concordia and finally Leo (60-54) to win a 3A sectional title. The Braves won the first game of the regional, then loss to Wawasee 73-64. Busick then left after the season and went to Crown Point. He's now the head coach at Zionsville north of Indianapolis.
"I thought the key was we didn't panic. Payton (Selking) played very well down the stretch and hit some big shots. The kids really responded and I'm just so happy. The kids are very elated," Patterson noted. Selking, who has suffered through back pain all season, had the game of his career, hitting 8 of 14 shots, including 5 of 8 from three-point land, and scored 21 points to lead Bellmont.
Senior Kyle Lehrman scored 13 points and sophomore big man Matt Chronister scored 11 with 8 rebounds to give the Braves some inside production in the win over Maconaquah.
Wayne (10-11), which won four of its final five games of the season, will take on Norwell (14-6), which lost four of its last seven games this year, in the 6 p.m. semi-final Friday at the Bellmont 3A Sectional. The host Braves, now 4-17, will take on 14-6 Peru in the second game. The winners will clash Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
In January, Peru beat Maconaquah 42-35. Since that game, Peru has won just four of nine games after starting the season 8-0 and ranked No. 1 in 3A. Obviously, the Braves have a real shot at Peru Friday.