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Battle to the finish; Penns Valley survives late Bellefonte scoring surge

Penns Valley  51, Bellefonte 49

PV 12 14 12 13 – 51

BE  9    7  8 25 – 49

Scoring: Penns Valley – Aaron Tobias 0 1-2 1, Zach Braucht 7 5-10 22, Caleb Narber 4 0-1 9, Logan Snyder 2 0-0 5, Aidan Brinker 2 0-0 6, John Aston 4 0-0 8. Totals 19 6-13 51. Bellefonte- Trae Bauman 1 0-0 2, Mason Grey 2 0-0 6, Isiah Nadolsky 2 0-0 4, Ben McCartney 10 5-6 30, Shaun Carey 3 1-1 7. Totals 18 6-9 49

Played but didn’t score: Penns Valley –  Aidan Culver 0 0-0 0, Logan Crater 0 0-0 0, Kyle Niewinski 0 0-0 0. Bellefonte – Nicholas Way 0 0-0 0, Blair Eckley-Jones 0 0-0 0, Gannon Brungard 0 0-2 0.

3-point shots: Bellefonte – Grey 2, McCartney 5. Penns Valley- Brinker 2, Snyder, Narber, Braught 2.

By Kenny Varner

BELLEFONTE -It was a race to the finish Wednesday when Mountain League rivals Bellefonte hosted Penns Valley in a game that went down to the wire.

With a 14-point lead going into the fourth quarter, the Rams held on for dear life in the last eight minutes to survive in a 51-49 contest.

“I thought in the fourth quarter we are going to have to watch some things about how we handle end of game situations. What’s a good shot in the first quarter may not be a good one in the fourth quarter and having some more discipline,” Penns Valley coach Terry Glunt said. “Bellefonte played us hard and they never gave up and that created some difficulty. I’m just appreciative that a big lead going into the fourth.”

Leading the charge in the fourth for the Red Raiders were Ben McCartney who posted 19 of his team’s 25 points while teammate Mason Grey hit two triples to almost complete the comeback attempt.

McCartney has the hot hand for the Red Raiders, posting 30 points and two boards.

“I don’t think we really started playing until our backs were against the wall in the fourth. It’s disappointing. It’s a rivalry game. This is our home floor and I didn’t think our execution was good offensively. I thought we looked sluggish at times and we couldn’t rebound in the first half and that hurt us and put us in a bad spot,” said Bellefonte coach Kris Glunt. “Mason Grey came off the the bench for us and played really well. He gave us a lot of energy. He always does. He hit some shots. Maybe I should have went to him sooner. He asserted himself tonight. Credit Penns Valley. They played a nice game but I was real disappointed with a lot of things. I thought we put ourselves in a hole that was tough to climb out of.”

Penns Valley got a strong offensive effort on the night from Zach Braucht. Braucht hit from outside and drove the lane en route to a 22-point performance.

Teammate Logan Snyder just missed double digits with nine points.

On the boards, the Rams got eight strong pull downs from John Aston. Ironically, Aston also posted eight points.

The Rams led throughout the game and held a 38-24 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Braught put his team up by 16 as he scored a quick bucket in transition.

On the next Bellefonte possession, McCartney cut it back to 14 as he went right to the heart of the defense.

The Bellefonte defense tightened up the inside but Aidan Brinker broke out and was wide open and hit a triple at the 6:11 mark, 43-26.

McCartney knew that he had to continue to work the middle and he was fouled on the Red Raiders next touch. He hit one-of-two.

But Braught also took the same route in the Bellefonte end as he was also fouled in the process of shooting. He also hit one-of-two.

Penns Valley forced a turnover and was able to get the ball down under the basket to Aston. Aston went up for the bucket, extending the Rams lead to 46-27.

From there, the Red Raiders defense stepped things up a notch and was able to supply McCartney with the ball and he did not disappoint, going on a personal 9-0 run.

The scoring run forced Penns Valley to call a time out.

Grey brought the Red Raiders back even closer roping nothing but net from beyond the 3-point line, making it a 46-36 contest.

On the following Penns Valley possession, Grey stole the ball and he got it to McCartney for the lay in, cutting the deficit to single digits with 2:15 left.

A McCartney steal and bucket, closed in and made it a 46-40 contest.

But when the Rams needed it, they got four consecutive points by Caleb Narber to give his team a little breathing room at 50-40 with just fifty ticks left on the clock.

But in a last flurry of action McCartney and Grey was able to outscore Penns Valley 9-1 in the last 23 seconds but ran out of time, falling by a close 51-49 contest.

In the first, Penns Valley got out to a quick start, leading 12-9 after one.

They went into the half holding a 26-16 lead and held the momentum going into the third.

Penns Valley outscored Bellefonte 12-8, leading to the drama that would happen in the final stanza.

Penns Valley hosts Clearfield at home Friday as the Rams honor seniors Aaron Tobias and Logan Snyder.

Bellefonte is back on the hardwood at Huntingdon on Friday.

In the JV contest, Penns Valley also took home the victory, winning 35-31.

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