CLAYSBURG - Claysburg-Kimmel boys basketball practice does not end until point guard Austin Lamont makes his free throws.
All of those free throws paid dividends for the Bulldogs Monday. Lamont converted 7-of-8 from the line in the final minute as part of his game-high 20 points in a 51-43 win over Bellwood-Antis at the Claysburg-Kimmel High School gym.
"Austin's been the starting point guard for four years. At the end of the game, he's going to be the one with the ball in his hands. He did a great job," Claysburg coach Josh Klausman said.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Bellwood-Antis’ Sawyer Kline can’t control a pass between Claysburg-Kimmel’s Luke Eberhart (35) and Brandon Gergely.
Bellwood gave the Bulldogs all they could handle, overcoming an early 11-point deficit to hold one-point leads both at the half and the end of the third quarter.
After the two teams exchanged baskets to open the fourth quarter, Brandon Gergely drained a wide-open 3-pointer from the wing then followed that with a putback of his own miss to put Claysburg ahead 37-33.
The Bulldogs increased the lead to 40-35 before a pair of freshmen scored on back-to-back possessions to tie the game.
Sawyer Kline knocked down a 15-footer from the baseline and Joey Padula hit a 3 from the wing to make it a 40-40 game with 2:30 to play.
Gergely answered moments later with a 3-pointer of his own from the corner to give Claysburg back the lead for good. The junior swingman finished with 10 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter.
"When Brandon catches the ball in stride and elevates for the shot, you can almost count on it going in," Klausman said. "Each and every game, he's stepping up more and more. He's a big key to the success of our team."
With the win, Claysburg stays within one game of first place Juniata Valley in the Inter-County Conference North Division at 6-3, 8-6 overall. Bellwood falls to 2-6 in league play, 3-11 overall.
"For the first three quarters, we were playing well as team, making the extra pass and hitting the open man," Bellwood coach Brent Gerwert said. "The fourth quarter there was too much dribbling around. Everyone trying to do things by themselves. That's the sign of a young team. That's bit us a lot this season."
Bellwood has just one senior on the roster. The starting lineup Monday consisted of three sophomores and a freshman.
Alex Bartlett led the Blue Devils with 17 points and Nathan Davis scored 14.
"Bellwood's going to be tough for years to come. Nathan Davis is such a smooth player. Austin Lamont and Carter Cerully did a good job of keeping the ball out of his hands," Klausman said. "Carter may not have had a big scoring night, but he kept Davis from going off for 25-30 points."
Sparked by eight points from Lamont early on, Claysburg jumped out to a 15-4 lead. When Cody Dugan made a layup off a pass from Tyler Brown early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs led 19-10. It was the last point of the first half for Claysburg.
"We had four for five bad possessions when they went back into a zone. I'm not sure why it took so long to identify it. We'd make one pass and shoot," Klausman said.
Bellwood closed the half strong with a 10-0 run. Bartlett started the run with five straight points on a jump shot and a 3-point play. Davis and Jake Burch followed with back-to-back layups.
Davis then was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with under one second on the clock and converted 1-of-3 free throws for a 20-19 halftime lead.
"We were limiting them to one shot and were able to stop them from running. They got 10 points on the fastbreak early. We were able to control that," Gerwert said.
Bellwood increased its lead to six in the third quarter when Davis sank a 3-pointer from the top key followed by a short jump shot.
Luke Eberhart, who finished with 12 points, closed the gap with back-to-back buckets and Lamont tied the game 28-28 with a steal and a reverse layup.
Davis sank another 3-pointer and Eberhart scored on a putback of a Gergely miss to make it a 31-30 contest after three quarters.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (43): Bartlett 7 1-1 17, D'Angelo 0 0-0 0, Davis 5 1-3 14, Kline 1 0-0 2, Burch 3 0-0 7, Padula 1 0-0 3, Harrity 0 0-0 0, Tannehill 0 0-0 0. Totals - 17 2-4 43.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (51): Lamont 5 7-9 20, Brown 0 0-0 0, Gergely 4 0-0 10, Cerully 3 1-2 7, Eberhart 5 1-2 12, Dugan 1 0-0 2. Totals - 18 9-13 51.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis7 13 11 12 - 43
Claysburg-Kimmel15 4 11 21 - 51
3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 7 (Davis 3, Bartlett 2, Burch, Padula); Claysburg-Kimmel 6 (Lamont 3, Gergely 2, Eberhart).
Records: Bellwood-Antis (3-11, 2-6 ICC North); Claysburg-Kimmel (8-6, 6-2 ICC North).
JV: 53-23, Bellwood-Antis. High scorers-Harrity 11 (BA); Bogel 8 (CK).