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KENDALLVILLE — East Noble outscored Bellmont 23-13 over the final five minutes of the game Monday night and captured a Northeast Hoosier Conference game over the Braves, 56-44.
The Knights used an unexpected 21-point performance from Kyle Reece which came in handy as Bellmont shut down the main offensive threat from EN, T. J. Blair with only four points. Reece hit six straight shots at one point over the second and third period including a pair of treys.
The first half was a close encounter with Bellmont actually leading by five at 15-10 at one point. Unfortunately for the Braves, East Noble pasted a 10-3 advantage over the final five and a half minutes of the second period to go up by 20-18 at the half.
A Nick Fuelling basket with 5:58 to play in the third period knocked the lead down to one at 22-21 but that was as close as the Braves would ever get again on the night.
It appeared East Noble was going on a streak that would pin the Braves down as they scored 11 straight for a 33-21 lead, the last two hoops coming from Reece. Bellmont's Joe Baker had other thoughts, however, as the senior guard knocked down two consecutive treys, one coming with only two seconds left, and then he continued by scoring the first four points of round four and Bellmont was down only 33-31.
"We were right there and back in the game," noted Bellmont coach Larry Patterson, continuing "East Noble came out of the time out they called and responded the way they needed to. We didn't. It is sort of the same tale of the last couple of games for us."
After Baker's blitz, East Noble outscored Bellmont 23-13 for the rest of the period and it was only a five-point burst by Baker in the final 30 seconds of the game that made the contest as close as it was. East Noble took advantage of Bellmont fouls in the final period hitting 15-16 free throws (they were 21-24 for the game).
Baker finished the night leading all scorers with 23 points.
The junior varsity contest was a pulsating contest that saw the Braves erase a nine-point fourth period East Noble lead to win 38-37.
With the score tied and East Noble trying to go for the final shot, Bellmont forced the Knights into a turnover with about nine seconds to play.
The Braves raced down the floor with Bellmont reserve coach John Baker frantically calling for a time out at the top of his voice and in animated fashion.
To the Braves' advantage, neither official saw or heard Baker's request and Brian Fullenkamp went hard to the basket and was fouled with :01.1 left in the game. Fullenkamp made the first shot but committed a lane violation on the second try giving the Knights the ball on the end line out-of-bounds. The EN desperate heave for a three-pointer was well off target and the Braves were a one-point winner.
Max Collier and Josh Hall both topped the Braves with nine points while Fullenkamp had eight, Michael Stidam had six, Jason Schueler had four and Lance Vergara two. Bellmont outscored East Noble 16-9 in the final six minutes.