|Boys come up short|
by Norv and Mary Coblentz · January 29, 2014
The West Liberty Comets boys' basketball team lost 72-62 to the Comets of Bellevue Jan. 20 at West Liberty. The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 18 but was postponed because of the weather.
"We can't play any defense right now," West Liberty Head Coach James Laughlin said. "We've got to figure out a way to do it. We're letting teams score on us at will. (The first half was pretty good,) but we came out in the second half and let them get confidence. We've done that all year."
Troy Heick's tip went to Kyle Miller to start the game, and Miller scored with a putback basket. Fouls, missed shots and a turnover by Bellevue ate up a minute of the clock. Then Heick scored in the paint, assist Brett Becker, for a 4-0 West Liberty lead.
Bellevue got a putback basket with six minutes on the clock. Turnovers and fouls took another couple minutes off the clock, and Bellevue scored again at the 4:00 mark to tie it at 4-4.
Later on Koenig scored, then Bellevue drove to the hoop for a 12-12 tie with 34 seconds on the clock. Bellevue scored in the paint, then Miller drove to the hoop and drew a foul. He made the first of two free throws. Bellevue got the rebound, and the score was 14-13, Bellevue, going into the second quarter.
There were a total of 11 fouls called in the first half - five on West Liberty and six on Bellevue. Only West Liberty got to the free throw line at all, and they made one of two. The second half was a different story. Bellevue's point guard Tyler Banowetz made 10 free throws in the third quarter alone.
"He was hot, and we kept putting him on the line," Laughlin said. "You can't do that."
West Liberty started the second half with the ball, but Bellevue got a steal. Guardado got a defensive board then an offensive board. West Liberty was fouled but missed both free throws, and Bellevue got the rebound and scored with an outside shot. West Liberty traveled, then Becker got a steal, and Miller scored for a 28-23 score.
Bellevue made a three-point shot, then Heick was fouled on a shot and made the first of two. Miller got the rebound and was fouled. A jump ball went to Bellevue and they scored with 5:19 on the clock, narrowing West Liberty's lead to 29-28.
Miller was fouled on a shot and made the first of two free throws. Bellevue got the rebound. Bellevue was fouled on a shot and made both free throws for a 30-30 tie. Miller drove to the hoop and scored. Bellevue was fouled and made the second of two free throws. Becker was fouled and also made the second of two free throws.
Anderson picked up his third foul, and Bellevue made two more free throws. Miller scored again for a 35-33 West Liberty lead. Bellevue traveled but got a defensive board and layup to tie it at 35-35 with 3:00 left in the quarter. West Liberty turned the ball over, and Bellevue took the lead with a putback basket.
Bellevue made a three-point basket and was fouled. They made the free throw for a 41-35 Bellevue lead. Miller was fouled and made both free throws.
Bellevue made two more free throws, then each team turned the ball over. Alpen made two free throws for a 43-39 score. Bellevue made the first of two free throws, and Guardado got the rebound. Bellevue was fouled again but missed the free throw. Unfortunately for West Liberty, Bellevue got the rebound and a basket for a 46-39 score.
Bellevue got a steal and a basket and got fouled. The free throw was good for a 49-39 Bellevue lead at the end of the third quarter.
West Liberty battled back in the fourth quarter and got to within two points at one point. West Liberty traveled to start the fourth quarter, and Bellevue scored, stretching their lead to 12 points. Becker was fouled on a putback try. he made the second of two free throws. Bellevue made a putback basket.
Miller scored, assist Becker, then Bellevue scored from the outside. West Liberty turned the ball over and fouled Bellevue. The first of two free throws was made, and Heick got the rebound. Becker drew a foul and made both free throws for a 56-44 score. Bellevue scored again, then Heick made a basket, assist Koenig. West Liberty took a time out with 5:58 to go, trailing 58-46.
Becker got a steal on the inbounds pass and made a basket. Heick took a charge for West Liberty, then the Comets scored. Bellevue turned the ball over, then Miller was fouled. He made the second of two free throws. Guardado picked up his fourth foul and Bellevue made both free throws for a 60-51 score with 4:51 to go.
Miller drove to the basket and scored. Becker got a steal and a layup. After a Bellevue time out, Guardado fouled out with 3:20 to go. Bellevue missed both free throws but got the rebound. Heick got a block, but Bellevue kept possession and made a basket. Miller got a steal then drew a foul. He made the second of two free throws for a 62-56 score.
Becker got a defensive rebound. Heick got an offensive board and basket. The Comets were down by four with 2:05 to go.
Bellevue scored inside, then Heick scored, assist Becker. West Liberty called a time out with 1:41 to go, trailing 64-60.
Koenig got a defensive rebound and Miller scored, assist Becker, for a 64-62 score with 1:18 to go. But West Liberty didn't score again.
Bellevue missed two free throws, then made two. Anderson fouled out with 34.9 seconds to go. Bellevue made two more free throws, then West Liberty missed two from the charity stripe. Bellevue made four more free throws for a 72-62 final score.
"I said at halftime that to win this game we needed to limit our turnovers and we need to get to the free throw line. We got there 28 times in the second half. That made a big difference, and we converted," Bellevue Head Coach Tyler Daugherty said.