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Penns Valley outlasts Bellefonte in high tempo affair

By Kenny Varner

SPRING MILLS – The Penns Valley and Bellefonte boys basketball teams met up Friday night at the Rams gym.

The action was fast and furious through the evening in the high tempo affair.

Despite a late comeback attempt by the Red Raiders, the Rams were able

pull out a 60-54 Laurel Highlands victory.

“Penns Valley just played better than us. They came out with more energy. We didn’t do a good enough job attacking their zone,” said Bellefonte coach Rick Hall. “We told them before the game that you have to ball fake and throw more bounces and throw over the top. When you face a 1-3-1 the defense keeps adjusting and my players didn’t make the adjustment. We had wide open three’s we just didn’t shoot well tonight.”

Offensively, Penns Valley were led by

Fletcher Ironside and Jackson Romig who both tallied 17.

Jacob Corman was a force to be reckoned with for Bellefonte, posting a double-double with a game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Turnovers proved to be the Red Raiders Achilles heel on the night as the Rams defense made the most of their chances with a high transition game. Penns Valley finished with 19 rebounds while Bellefonte pulled down 20.

The game started at a feverish pace, with the two teams combing to score 41 points in the opening stanza.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better effort. We had a lot of guys contribute tonight,” said Penns Valley coach Robert Irwin. “Bellefonte is getting better. They are well coached. Those kids are really talented over there.”

Going into the final stanza, the Rams had built up a 49-41 lead.

Fletcher Ironside got the scoring started for the Rams as he hit 1-of-2 from the free throw line.

On the following trip down, Bellefonte turned the ball over.

With the possession of the ball, Penns Valley worked the ball around and got it to Carson Webster from beyond the arc. He posted up for the triple and hit nothing but net. Webster, who hit three treys, put his team up by 12 at 6:45 left.

Needing to cut into the lead, Bellefonte was able to get the ball down inside to Jacob McConnell for the bucket in traffic.

In the inbounds, the Red Raiders put on a full court press. The defense caused Penns Valley to call a time out at 5:07 left in the contest.

When play resumed, Bellefonte notched a timely forced turnover, as they gave the ball to Ryder Hamilton and he didn’t disappoint, hitting a runner in the lane, cutting it to a 53-45 contest.

On the next Bellefonte possession, Penns Valley used its fast break to pick up a steal and pushed it down to a hustling Jackson Romig who was leading the break down court. His lay up moved the Rams lead back to 10 at 55-45.

After a Bellefonte time out, Derek Cox was fearless going inside the paint for the bucket.

Penns Valley slowed the tempo of the game and went into a ‘keep away’ time consuming play. The Rams worked the ball to under two minutes.

But the Red Raiders’ McConnell picked up the ball after the turnover and went in for the bucket. Most importantly he cut the Penns Valley lead to only six, with just 1:06 left on the clock.

Bellefonte was forced to foul as the time was running out. They put Spencer Althouse on the line and he hit 1-of-2.

Cox got fouled in the following drive, he was able to hit 2-for-2 from the charity stripe making it a 56-51 ball game.

With the clock 30 ticks left on the clock, Carter Ironside had the game breaker as he broke the Bellefonte press and made it in for the bucket.

Bellefonte refused to go away as Cox busted a long range three, creeping into a 58-54 4-point contest.

But it wasn’t enough to complete the contest as Fletcher Ironside went a clutch 2-for-2 from the line, sealing the deal, 60-54.

Bellefonte inside man Jacob Corman was on fire offensively in the third quarter. Corman battled on the boards and in traffic but still was able to finish 14-third quarter points alone. He was also instrumental in keeping the contest close with clutch rebounds and steals.

But the night belonged to the Rams as they honored their peers on senior night.

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