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MONROEVILLE—Bellmont coach Larry Patterson perhaps said it best after the Saturday night non-conference basketball match-up between his Braves and the Heritage Patriots.
"You can't score if you don't shoot the ball," he succinctly analyzed.
In a game Bellmont thought they would be favored the win, the Braves coughed the ball up 26 times to the Patriots and dropped a 38-36 overtime decision, a loss that will almost certainly result in an interesting practice session Monday for the Bellmonters.
"We didn't come in here expecting a dog fight but there's no way you're gonna win a game with 26 turnovers. With the conference schedule and level of competition that we have coming up, you just can't be tentative and throw the ball away like that. We didn't execute at all," Patterson lamented.
"As experienced of a team that we have, this is a game we should have won. I certainly don't want to take anything away from Heritage, they played a whale of a game, but when you have 10 days to prepare for a game like we did that should be a positive factor and tonight it wasn't," he concluded.
Despite the turnover factor, Bellmont was still in the game until the very end and it wasn't until Nick Fuelling's three-point shot with about two seconds remaining was woefully short and the Braves couldn't grab a loose ball rebound that Heritage was assured of the win, their first of the year against three setbacks.
Bellmont toyed with the ball for almost the final minute of regulation with a tie score at 36-36. Heritage made a nice defensive play with just under 12 seconds remaining and nearly swiped the ball near midcourt but a loose ball scramble resulted in officials awarding the ball back to Bellmont with :11.2 to play. The Braves had trouble working the ball inside and with :02.9 left, Kyle Lehrman was called for his fifth foul of the night when he drove the left baseline and lowered his shoulder into Joshua Terry.
Referee Gene Huston emphatically and correctly called an offensive foul on Bellmont giving Heritage a last-ditch attempt to win but Mitch Castleman's 35-foot trey try missed badly at the buzzer sending the game to overtime.
In the overtime, Bellmont was scoreless for the four-minute period while Heritage cashed in two free throws, one by Castleman with 2:36 left which proved to be the winning point of the game, and one with 1:29 to go, also by Castleman. Fuelling tried a reverse lay-up with :35 seconds to go only to have that shot blocked by a Patriot defender.
Heritage entered the overtime session with just four team fouls and that proved beneficial as with :20.5 to go they managed to tap an errant Bellmont pass into the backcourt which led to a mad scramble for the ball. Wil Knapke was called for a foul on the play for Heritage but it was only their sixth team foul which kept Bellmont away from the foul line.
Bellmont guard Joe Baker, who had hit a pair of three-pointers earlier in the game, tried another trey with six seconds to play in OT but his shot was well short and a jump ball resulted with :02.6 left. Bellmont had the alternate possession arrow in their favor but couldn't get a good look at the hoop and Fuelling's three ball missed resulting in Heritage being victorious.
Heritage coach Dave Randall noted after the game that he felt the Heritage defense in the game was a key to the victory.
"We've said that we're going to be able to generate our offense thru our defense and we did that tonight. The fact that we weren't in the bonus going into overtime was also big. The foul you give up 80 feet from the basket never helps and we were able to stay away from those type of fouls tonight. It's a W and we'll take it," he noted.
A big Heritage key was that Bellmont only shot six free throws in the game the entire night and made four. The Patriots on the other hand went to the line 18 times, making 10, thus creating their margin of victory from the charity stripe.
The game was close throughout with the largest lead coming at 11-6 in the first period when Castleman hit a traditional three-point play for the Pats. Bellmont held Heritage without a field goal from the 7:45 mark of period two to 4:32 to go in the third period and Heritage tallied just five free throws in the time frame. The Braves scored only two points in the last eight and a half minutes of play but the Pats couldn't take advantage of that drought.
Although Patterson refused to count it as an excuse, the Braves sorely missed the presence of junior guard Payton Selking in the second half. Selking hit 4-4 from the field in the first half including a nice spin move that gave the Braves a 16-15 lead, but a sore back kept him out of action in the second half. The Braves also were without the services of 6'4 senior Zach Hake who recently injured his knee and 6'2 senior Forrest Fullenkamp who is still recovering from a knee injury suffered in football season.
Castleman and Knapke both were in double figures for Heritage with 12 and 10 respectively while Lehrman had 10 to lead Bellmont. Logan Smith pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds for the Braves.
The junior varsity game was a tale of two halves.
Bellmont had virtually no offense in the first half trailing 21-5 at the intermission but the second half was a completely different story as the Braves scored more points in the fourth period than they did in the first three quarters combined and rallied for a convincing 43-35 win.
Matt Chronister gave the Braves a 30-29 lead they would not lose with a bucket with about four minutes to play and the Bellmonters finished off the Pats with a 24-8 run in the final period. Chronister outscored Heritage's Derek Franke for scoring honors 19-15. Chronister also grabbed eight rebounds to top the Braves in that category.
Bellmont returns to action Wednesday night at Garrett while Heritage will travel to South Adams next Friday.
Heritage 38, Bellmont 36 (OT)
2PG 3PG FT TP
Fullenkamp 0-0 0-0 2-2 2
Baker 1-5 2-9 0-0 8
Selking 4-4 0-0 0-0 8
Fuelling 1-9 0-3 1-2 3
Lehrman 5-9 0-0 0-0 10
Smith 2-6 0-0 0-0 4
Macklin 0-2 0-0 0-0 0
Hall 0-0 0-0 1-2 1
Chronister 0-0 0-0 0-00
Totals 13-35 2-12 4-6 36
2PG 3PG FT TP
Terry 1-5 1-2 0-0 5
Knapke 5-12 0-0 0-0 10
Snider 2-5 0-3 2-2 6
Melcher 0-0 0-1 1-4 1
Castleman 3-7 0-4 6-8 12
Dossen 0-2 0-0 1-2 1
Sorg 0-1 0-1 0-0 0
Scheumann 1-5 0-1 1-2 3
Totals 12-37 1-12 10-18 38
Score by Quarters
Bellmont 12 6 8 10 0 36
Heritage 13 5 11 7 2 38
Officials: Gene Huston, Dean Martin, Dave Kurtz
Rebounds: Bellmont 33 (Smith 11, Fuelling 8), Heritage 27 (Castleman 9, Snider 6)
Assists: Bellmont 9 (Baker 4, Selking 2), Heritage 3
Steals: Bellmont 5 (Selking 2, Smith 2), Heritage 10 (Castleman 3, Knapke 3, Melcher 2)
Blocked Shots: Bellmont 4, Heritage 4 (Knapke 2)
Turnovers: Bellmont 26, Heritage 17
Team Fouls: Bellmont 15, Heritage 13
Bellmont 43, Heritage 35 (JV)
BELLMONT: Matt Chronister 7-5-19, Jacob Schueler 3-2-9, Lance Vergara 2-3-7, Josh Hall 2-1-6, Brett Hormann 1-0-2, Noah Tinsley 0-0-0, Mason Selking 0-0-0, Matt Stidam 0-0-0, Jordan Jauregui 0-0-0. Totals: 15-11-43.
HERITAGE: Derek Franke 3-9-15, Landon Harris 3-0-6, Conner Bleke 2-0-6, C. J. Whitman 0-4-4, Connor Sheehan 2-0-4, Grant Kleine 0-0-0, Cole Gerardot 0-0-0, Cole Allison 0-0-0, Connor Burton 0-0-0. Totals: 10-13-35.