The streak is over!
The Bellmont Braves dispatched a 14-game losing streak by the wayside Tuesday night in the opening round of the class 3A sectional 22 boys basketball tournament at the Teepee by outlasting Maconaquah, a team that entered the tourney with a 14-6 record, by a 59-57 count in overtime.
It was a game of runs but featured 12 lead changes and four ties and the game came down to a harried end when Maconaquah's David Carter hit a three-pointer for a 58-57 Bellmont lead with four seconds left.
The clock expired sending Bellmont fans into premature pandemonium but officials ruled Maconaquah coach Lucas Zartman had called for a timeout. While four seconds was put back on the clock, the only problem was Maconaquah did not have any timeouts left resulting in a technical foul being called.
BHS coach Larry Patterson selected senior guard Joe Baker, the leading scorer on the season for the Braves to take the two awarded shots. Baker, who was held scoreless in regulation but had hit five straight free throws in overtime to keep the Braves hopes alive, missed both. On the inbounds play, Forrest Fullenkamp was quickly fouled.
Fullenkamp's first charity toss found nothing but net for a 59-57 lead but he missed the second with :03.4 on the clock and the M-Braves got the rebound. The visitors from Miami County rushed down the floor and got the ball to its leading scorer, Carter (21 points on the night). He fired off a three-point try that would have won it for Maconaquah had he connected but the 35-footer missed and this time the sounding of the horn meant the Braves could celebrate for good.
"This was the type of game you just hated to see either team lose," Patterson said after the game, adding "we worked so hard. 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," he asserted.
Maconaquah lost a chance at the end of the fourth period to win the game outright when a three-point shot by Devin Shaffer went awry forcing overtime with a 45-45 tally.
The two teams swapped a pair of baskets to open the extra four-minute period but the Bellmont baskets were treys by Payton Selking who finished the night hitting 8-14 from the field (including five treys) and had a team-high 21 points. That put Bellmont up 51-49 and Bellmont never trailed again although there was plenty of nail biting on the BHS side.
Kyle Lehrman stroked in two straight foul shots with 1:31 to go in OT for a four-point BHS edge and 22 seconds later rebounded a missed Maconaquah shot before being fouled again. He missed the front end of the one-and-one and Maconaquah's Shaffer came through with a traditional three-point play for a 53-52 score.
When Bellmont had trouble moving the ball in the back court and was trapped, Patterson called a timeout and moments later, Baker started his personal parade to the foul line hitting two straight. Baker rebounded a partially-blocked Maconaquah shot and added two more free throws to put Bellmont up 57-52 with :27.4 to play.
Wary of giving up the three-ball, Bellmont allowed Nate Shinn to penetrate the lane for two. The Maconaquah coaching staff pleaded for a turnover on Bellmont on the inbounds play but a foul was called sending Baker back for another trip to the line. His fifth straight shot dropped in but the next one missed.
Maconaquah missed with eight seconds but kept the ball when it went out-of-bounds. They quickly set up Carter for his trey to get back to the final 59-57 score before the final theatrics of the last four seconds took place.