Bellefonte gets win against P.O., 48-39
BELLEFONTE — The Bellefonte Red Raiders may have finally developed a groove on the court this season, and it’s happening at the right time of the year.
Bellefonte defeated Philipsburg-Osceola, 48-39, to give them the series sweep against the Mountaineers. Bellefonte’s riding a two-game win streak and its record jumped to 5-12 on the year.
“I was proud of our kids and I thought the effort was pretty good,” Bellefonte coach Kris Glunt said. ” We just got to get back to work [Wednesday] and clean up some things if we want to continue to be successful.”
Ben McCartney posted a game-high 15 points, and Nick Fisher added another 13. They made a nice one-two-punch and converted clutch free throws in the fourth to seal the game for the Raiders.
Philipsburg had a significant height advantage over Bellefonte.
Marcus Wisnor and Dane Soltys were each listed at 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-6, respectively, and gave Bellefonte some trouble in the post.
Wisnor recorded a team-high 12 points. Soltys recorded just four points, but was active in the paint and tallied rebounds for the Mountaineers.
“I have to give credit to Wisnor and Soltys for playing on the high-post,” Glunt said. “I thought they were really talented players who made it really difficult for us tonight.”
On offense, the Raiders stayed cleared of the two bigs and stuck to its perimeter shot, which it was successful doing. They knocked down seven three pointers in the game, including a team-high three triples by Nick Fisher.
“We had to shoot a little bit from the outside tonight because they made it very difficult inside,” Glunt explained. “They have two or three guys that go 6-foot-4 or better, so we had to work the ball. We played inside-outside and the kids knocked down some timely shots that we really needed.”
Bellefonte entered intermission trailing 19-17 after a flat first half, but left the locker room with the proper scheme to regain the lead.
In the third, they increased its pressure on defense, which visibly flustered Philipsburg and allowed the Raiders to shift the game’s momentum.
“We decided to turn up the pressure a little bit there in the third quarter,” Glunt explained. “We were fortunate to force some turnovers and turn those turnovers into buckets.”
Bellefonte took advantage of those turnovers with strong shooting. Nate Tice delivered a pass to Ben McCartney in the corner for a three pointer to cut BF’s deficit, 23-21. On their ensuing possession, Caleb Rockey connected with Tice who drilled a three to put Bellefonte up, 24-23.
Nick Fisher continued the rally when he drilled another three. Bellefonte’s pressure defense got to Philipsburg again when Ben McCartney snatched the in-bounds pass out of the air and recorded a quick reverse layup to extend Bellefonte’s lead, 29-23.
Bellefonte out-scored Philipsburg 18-8 in the third and buried the Mountaineers from the free throw line in the fourth to seal the 48-39 win.
Bellefonte’s victory against PO was its fifth of the season. They’re riding a two-game win streak and with four games remaining on its schedule are still in the playoff hunt.
But Glunt isn’t counting his chickens before they hatch.
He acknowledged there’s still plenty of room for growth, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. The Raiders surrendered its share of uncontested shots in the final minutes of the game and were outscored in the fourth, 13-11.
“In order for us to be successful in the postseason, we need to continue to play good basketball, and we need to continue to improve,” Glunt said. “The last two games we’ve been successful and we’re proud of that, but we also recognize we have a lot of areas where we need to clean things up.”
Bellefonte looks to continue its win streak and postseason push against rival Bald Eagle Area in Wingate on Thursday.
“They’re very competitive this year,” Glunt said of the Eagles. “We have our work cut out for us on Thursday.”