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BY ERIC MANN
MONROE—It wasn't better late than never, but better late than early in Adams Central's 64-50 victory on Tuesday over rival Bellmont.
The Braves came out blazin' in the first quarter, working for a 17-5 lead in the first period behind six points each by Nick Fuelling and Payton Selking (two treys), but the Flying Jets responded with a 13-0 run keyed by inserting shooting guard Isaac Luginbill, who sliced two threes 26 seconds apart, plus two free throws by Keaton Fiechter (in the most complete game of his career), and five points by Dalton Combs, including a triple as time expired for the 18-17 lead change amid a wall of noise from AC fans.
The game stayed close through the third quarter, then the Jets juiced the "O" and outscored the Braves 19-8 in the final period, with Maverick Baumer outpointing BHS 11 to eight.
The Jets of head coach Aaron McClure are 7-1, the third-best start in school history (behind 11-1 in 1965-66 and 8-1 in 1964-65), while Bellmont dipped to 2-4.
"Bellmont has laid some on us" over the decades, said McClure, referring to the fact that Central rarely beats the Braves, but this year, he noted, "we have a lot of weapons," as shown by four Jets in double figures, a common fact this season:
—Maverick Baumer: 17 points, nine rebounds, two blocks (one stopping a dunk by Fuelling). He hit four of eight three-point shots and created two dunks in the climactic fourth period.
—Combs: 14 points, five rebounds.
—Luginbill: 13 points, two rebounds.
—Fiechter: 12 points (including six of eight foul shots), seven rebounds, six assists, and all five of AC's steals! Coach M described Fiechter as being "the difference-maker" with his end-to-end play.
Adams Central is off until a home game on January 7 versus Garrett and the opening game of the ACAC Tourney at Monroe on January 10 against Heritage.
Bellmont's next matchup will be on January 3 at the Teepee facing South Adams.