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Strong start by BEA lifts them to victory over Bellefonte


By Kenny Varner


WINGATE – No lead is ever a secure lead when Bellefonte meets Bald Eagle on the hardwood.

Wednesday night was no exception.

The Bald Eagles boys’ basketball team opened the game to a 17-3 advantage, only to have to battle throughout to deter a feisty Red Raider team that made numerous runs at the lead.

However, the Eagles were successful, dropping their rival 72-62 in a very high tempo Mountain League affair. The victory also pulled Bald Eagle to just one game under .500 overall and a 5-4 Mountain League tally.

“We wanted tonight to get out to a good start. We did something we haven’t been doing much this year. We were pressing. I like to coach that style of basketball and such but with our bench. We are still trying to develop a bench and so I figured we would go up-tempo and rotate a few more guys and try to create scoring opportunities for the guys that aren’t scoring. Get them into the game because they are a bit nervous playing out there,” Bald Eagle head coach Bill Butterworth said. “We just wanted to try something a little different out there. We had a little slump there going and the kids responded well tonight.”

The scoring rotation for the Eagles were varied as four of the seven players that played in the contest, finished in double figures.

Leading the way for Bald Eagle was Brandon Gettig who seemed to be everywhere on the floor, posting a 22-point effort with one triple.

Rounding out the double-digit scorers for the victors were Trey Butterworth, Noah Chambers and Jason Jones, who finished with a 15-point, 13-point and 12-point performance, respectively. Chambers also finished with a shot from beyond the arc.

Bellefonte’s scoring was just as consistent as their opponents, finishing with three of its players topping the double-digit mark in scoring.

After a slow scoring performance in the first quarter Trent Fortney heated up especially in the final stanza, finishing the night with 24 points. Fortney scored 15 of his 24 points in the second half. He also led the way from beyond the three-point line, posting three while teammate Hunter Knisley hit two en route to an 11-point night. Rounding things out for the Red Raiders was Danny Caprio, who also had 11.

In the first quarter, the Eagles came out like a team possessed posting 17 of the first 20 points scored.

Butterworth got his team on the board first, stealing a pass from Bellefonte and went in for the lay up.

After forcing the Red Raiders into a bad shot attempt, the Eagles got the ball and walked it down the court. With the offense set up, Butterworth got the ball to a wide open Jason Jones, who posted up and hit one in the middle, upping the lead to 4-0.

Bellefonte ended the Eagles’ scoring run on an offensive rebound by Caprio. Caprio put it back up and cut the lead into a 4-2 advantage.

From there the Eagles offense and defense steeped up a notch, going on a 9-0 run, upping it 13-2 with 4:40 left in the opening quarter.

Tyler Keger hit one of two from the charity stripe to stop the scoring run by BEA.

Bald Eagle continued to roll, ending the first quarter holding a seemingly comfortable 19-7 advantage.

Early on in the second quarter, the Red Raiders started to work on a slight comeback, getting as close as 10 points in the period.

However, the Eagles rallied late in the half to up its lead to 16 at the intermission.

Leading the way offensively in the quarter was Jones with seven for Bald Eagle and seven by Bellefonte’s Trent Fortney.

In the final two quarters, the game’s tempo went back and forth between the two.

At one point, the Red Raiders were able to cut the Bald Eagle lead to under 10 points but that would be as close as they would be able to get.

Bald Eagle was able to heat up when they needed a big run, thwarting numerous small Bellefonte runs with offensive runs of its own en route to the victory.

But to Bellefonte’s credit, the team never gave up and that was something their coach Darin Hazel was happy with.

“Our kids have always played hard. That’s one of the tributes to them and that’s a good thing. We still have a lot of areas we need to work on. Obviously, our defense wasn’t the best tonight. Our foul shooting hasn’t been the best all year,” Hazel said. “Give Bald Eagle credit. They have a really nice offensive team. They are very highly skilled.”

The future for Bellefonte looked good Wednesday as its Junior Varsity team defeated Bald Eagle 53-17.

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