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Wolves topple Thunder in boys basketball action

By Kenny Varner


STATE COLLEGE – Two teams with similar styles of play met up Tuesday night at the Lady of Victory gymnasium to do battle.

Belleville Mennonite met up with the strong inside/outside game of the St. Joseph Wolves.

The big difference?

Tuesday night, it would be the long depth of the bench the Wolves had compared to just the six roster players the Thunder has currently.

After going-toe-to-toe with St. Joseph for three quarters, the Thunder ran out of gas as The Wolves picked up the 61-43 victory.

Early on, St. Joseph went right at the heart of the Thunders defense for a successful 13-point first quarter showing.

“Depth has been a disadvantage to us all year. We were right in it. Our kids played their butts off. They gave a really, really good effort. I am so proud of them,” Belleville Mennonite coach Larry Kauffman said. “You could see we ran out of gas a little bit in the second half. We’re running with six healthy guys right now. We have a guy away and one hurt. They (the Wolves) seemed to bring wave after wave of athletic players. Their pressure in the third quarter really did us in.”

St. Joseph was led by the strong inside game of Mike Jabco. Jabco finished with a double-double and had four block shots.

When Jabco wasn’t lurking in the paint, the Wolves would dish the ball out to Stephen Beattie. Beattie led the outside game, hitting two triples and a lot of clutch jumpers, ruining numerous scoring runs by the Thunder.

Jabco finished with a team-high 22 points while Beattie tallied 21. Rounding out the big performers for St. Joseph was the driving guard play of Garrett Bastardi, scoring 13.

Offensively for Belleville, the Thunder got a huge night from one of their floorleaders, Noah Anders who muscled his way for a game-high 26 points. Twelve of his points came from beyond the three-point line.

“This is one of my favorite groups here at BMS. We might be small but we have some strong leadership from Noah Anders and Kyle Derstein and Derek Byler,” Kauffman said. “That’s what we preach. We want to go hard the very end and they’re doing it and its lead to wins at some point.”

In the first quarter, the two came out measuring each other up and trying to set their own tempo.

Anders got the first score of the game, giving them a 2-0 lead.

Bastardi came back to hit a field goal and one-from-two from the line to go up, 3-2.

A basket by Derek Byler gave his team the lead for the last time in the game, making it 4-3 with just under six minutes left to play in the period.

St. Joseph showed just how quickly it could score, going on a 5-0 run before it was ended by a triple by Anders, tying the game at seven.

On their next possession, Jabco ended the tie rather quickly, attacking the basket for a short bucket.

Beattie followed with a 4-point personal mini-run of his own, upping the lead to 13-7.

However, the Thunder would have the last laugh, cutting the lead to four on a bucket by Durrell Byler with seconds left on the opening quarter clock.

In the second, it was a match up wills and momentum shifts.

Despite keeping up with the up-tempo Wolves, the Thunder still trailed at halftime by seven, 31-24.

Things started to fall apart for the Thunder in the third quarter as St. Joseph outscored the visiting team 13-7 and with that, BMS went into the final stanza trailing 44-31.

Despite battling hard in the end, BMS was not able to catch fire offensively, ending in a 61-43 contest.




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