High School Basketball: Red Raiders outlast Eagles in nailbiter, 62-56
By KENNY VARNER
For The Express
BELLEFONTE – It was another rivalry game for the books.
There’s few guarantees in life, but one that is a given almost every time is that when Bellefonte and Bald Eagle Area match up in any sport, you are going to see two teams that will leave everything on the court or field.
Friday night, the boys basketball teams met up for their first meeting of the year and it was a typical game of alternating-scoring runs.
Bellefonte got out to a strong lead in the first and was challenged to the very end by a tough group of Eagles to the very end.
But the Eagles weren’t able to climb out of the early first-half deficit, falling to the Red Raiders 62-56.
Bellefonte got a strong game from Nick Fisher who posted a 17-point effort.
Complimenting Fisher was teammate Noah Badger, who finished with a double-double, scoring 12 and pulling down 11 boards.
Rounding out the double-digit scorers was Nate Tice with 11.
The Red Raiders finished with seven triples.
Bald Eagle was led by the late-game scoring talent of Nathan Hoover. Hoover scored 13 of his 22 points in the final stanza.
Blake Roberts followed up Hoover’s performance with a 12-point outing.
The Bald Eagles had six treys.
“We did enough to win. Credit Bald Eagle. They came in here and really fought hard and made some tough shots at times,” Bellefonte coach Kris Glunt said. “It’s always nice to get a rivalry win like this. It’s a fun environment and credit our kids for doing what it takes.”
In the first quarter, the Red Raiders got off to a strong start opening on a 7-0 run.
In that run, Tice opened the scoring with a triple.
Bellefonte followed with a steal and a fast break as Isaiah Nadolsky layed it in, upping the lead to 5-0.
Joey Maggs also finished off an Eagle miscue, upping it 7-0.
But back fought the Eagles as Roberts picked up the first field goal for Bald Eagle with 4:42 left.
But the Red Raiders went on a 4-0 mini run to increase their lead to 11-2.
Badger and Bailey Decker then scored underneath.
But the Eagles would battle back, like they did the entire contest.
In less than two minutes, the Eagles got a bucket from Hoover and two triples by Roberts, cutting it to 11-10.
However, Bellefonte would take the momentum into the second as they would get a free throw from Badger and a triple from Fisher to end the first leading 15-10.
In the second quarter, the Red Raiders would score 15 more as they held the Eagles to just nine, taking a 30-19 advantage into the intermission.
Bellefonte came out in the third quarter firing on all cylinders getting another triple from Tice and an inside shot in traffic by McCartney, upping the lead to 35-19.
Despite the 16-point deficit, the Eagles went right back to work to attack the lead.
They went on a run of their own, bringing the Bald Eagles back to within 10.
The 10-3 run would be spearheaded by a 5-point effort by Drew Bucha.
After a triple by Decker to stop the hot shooting by Bald Eagle, the Eagles’ offense went right back to it , outscoring the Red Raiders the rest of the quarter, 6-2.
When the fourth quarter got underway, it would be a dogfight to the finish as the Eagles were trailing by nine.
Hoover would eventually cut it to seven after hitting 2-of-2 from the charity stripe, making the game 43-36.
But Badger would up it back to nine after pulling down an offensive board and putting it in.
Minutes later, Hoover made it back to the line hitting another 2-of-2 from the foul line.
Bellefonte went on another small 6-0 run to extend the lead to 51-38.
But back would come the Eagles as they picked up a 4-0 run.
Bellefonte would fend off another charge and build back a double -digit lead of 56-43.
But in the last minute, the Eagles were scoring at a fast pace and were getting triples by Hoover to get within striking distance.
However, the game would be won at the foul line as the Red Raiders would get clutch free throws by Fisher and Decker down the stretch to hold onto the hard fought 62-56 victory.
“We made a few adjustments at halftime. Really, two offensive put backs in the first half were the difference in the game. They had two outbacks and ones, and that’s if we rebound that they don’t get those six points. So we made some adjustments to our zone. Then in the second half we switched to a 3-2, which we like to play and the kids did a great job of just hanging in there,” said Bald Eagle coach Bill Butterworth. “These kids never quit. I love coaching them. They never give up.”
Bellefonte 62, Bald Eagle Area 56
BEA 10 9 15 22 – 56
BEL 15 15 13 19 – 62
Scoring: Bald Eagle – Jaden Jones 1 3-3 5, Nathan Hoover 7 5-8 22, Drew Bucha 3 1-2 3, Nick Maynard 2 0-0 4, Blake Roberts 5 0-0 12, Keith Greene 1 0-0 3. Totals 20 10-18 56. Bellefonte – Joey Maggs 1 0-2 2, Nate Tice 3 2-2 11, Ben McCartney 3 1-1 8, Noah Badger 4 4-8 12, Bailey Decker 2 3-4 8, Nick Fisher 4 5-8 17, Isiah Nadolsky 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 15-25 62.
Played but didn’t score: Bald Eagle – None. Bellefonte – Jon Meyers 0 0-0 0.
3-point shots: Bald Eagle Area – Hoover 3, Roberts 2, Greene. Bellefonte – Tice 3, McCartney, Decker, Fisher 3.