The Wayne General ruined a strong early effort by Bellmont with a 13-2 run in the third period and then continued its attack in the final period to score a 59-46 victory Wednesday night in the opening boys varsity basketball game of the season for both teams.
BHS coach Larry Patterson said that despite the loss, he's taking a lot of positives from the game noting "this is a totally different year. We came in confident and played hard. There are just some things in certain situations that we'll have to correct."
The Xavielle Brown Show was the highlight of the Wayne comeback as the senior guard hit 14-17 from the foul line and finished with a game-high 24 points. In the final stanza where Wayne outpointed Bellmont 23-12, Brown hit 11 of the first 15 Wayne points and ended up with 14 in the quarter.
"Xavielle's a shooting guard but he's gonna be a mismatch nightmare for most teams because he loves getting the ball in the post," praised Wayne coach Aaron Rehrer, adding "we came in at halftime with some pretty bad stats. We were 0-7 in three-point shots and had 10 turnovers. We weren't fighting through some screens like we needed to. I thought in the second half we were able to turn up the pressure and that was a big key. Bellmont did a good job pushing the ball up on us--more than what we thought they'd be able to do."
Patterson's Braves came out with a different look than last season in which the Braves often found it difficult to get the ball inside.
Starting with Nick Fuelling's trey with 7:07 left in the opening quarter, Bellmont then went aggressively to the basket and on four occasions drew shooting fouls against Wayne. Unfortunately that resulted in a 4-8 performance from the line but the Braves still owned 14-8 lead at the buzzer.
Wayne came back to tie the game on three occasions but could never take the lead. Bellmont held Wayne scoreless over the final two and a half minutes and a free throw and basket by Zach Hake gave the Braves a 21-18 halftime edge.
Bellmont swapped points to open the third period with Wayne but a three-pointer from Joe Baker with 4:48 to go put the Braves up 27-21 which tied for the largest BHS lead of the game.
Then the bottom fell out of the bucket for the Braves with Brown, Ronald Lewis and Joshua Scroggins leading the way. Brown started the assault with two free throws with 4:35 to go and Lewis added a basket and a trey to wipe out the Bellmont lead and give Wayne its first advantage of the game at 28-27.
Patterson called a time out to try and stopping the hemorrhaging and Payton Selking answer with a hoop to allow Bellmont to gain its final edge of the night. Wayne went on a 6-0 run including two hoops from Scroggins for a 34-29 stop but it wasn't until Baker drilled in a buzzer-beating trey to narrow the gap to 36-34.
Right off on inbounding the ball to start the fourth stanza, Selking drove right down the middle and Wayne defenders parted like the Red Sea allowing Selking's lay-up to tie the game.
"The shot by Baker and then Selking's play were big for us because it put us right back in the game," Patterson said, adding "we wouldn't have seen that type of determined play by Peyton (or other players) last year."
The shocked Generals went back into their offensive mode and they tallied 11 straight points including seven by Brown and with 4:49 to play Wayne was up 47-36. The closest that Bellmont would ever get in the game after that was nine at 47-38 on two Selking free throws while the largest Wayne margin came at 59-44 late in the game
"We've got a lot of experience back this year and we're a lot stronger than last year. We just weren't patient enough to stop some of those Wayne runs. Overall, I was pleased with the balanced effort (Selking and Fuelling both had 10, Baker ended up with nine and Kyle Lehrman added eight) and the determination they showed. The players started after last year and have worked hard," Patterson said.
Bellmont did score wins in the prelim games taking the junior varsity tilt by a 43-41 count and the freshman contest 34-28.
Bellmont dominated the majority of the reserve game and held off a late Wayne rally for the win. Again, balanced scoring was evident for the Braves with Jacob Schueler and Matt Chronister hitting double figures with 11 and 10 respectively and Matt Stidam adding nine.
In the freshman game, Cameron Bienz directed the Bellmont offense with 14 markers while Maverick Birch and Chase Ellsworth contributed eight and six respectively.
Bellmont returns to action Saturday night in non-conference action at Woodlan.