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Golden Eagles open basketball season with win over Blue Devils

The high school boys’ basketball season got underway on Friday night at Bellwood for the two local teams. Anytime Tyrone and Bellwood-Antis get together for anything, you can be sure of a large crowd and lots of bubbling enthusiasm. The schools don’t play tiddlywinks, but you can imagine even that would bring out crowds of faithful who swear up and down, their athletes are the best tiddlers.
In this case, it was round ball and the Golden Eagles used a pressure-tight defense to force early turnovers and took advantage of a distinct height advantage to get a big early lead they just building on for three quarters. By the time the Blue Devils finally got their game going it was too little, too late in a 69-48 Tyrone victory.
“That’s one thing we have been working on real hard,” said Tyrone coach Mike Harris on his team’s defensive effort. “to get guys out in the passing lanes to get steals and easy baskets in transition. We worked all week to get guys out there and be aggressive and tonight they were in perfect position to get good steals.”
Bellwood-Antis seemed to be throwing more passes to the Eagles than to their teammates early in the game as Tyrone carried scoring margins of 15-9 and 15-6 to double up Bellwood-Antis at halftime 30-15.
Tyrone also had the advantage in experience, getting Leonard Wilson, Tad Chamberlain and Josh Crabtree from the football team and all showed their experience and leadership from last year as well as the athletic talent they had been using on the football gridiron. Wilson and Crabtree in particular were jumping into the passing lanes and intercepting or disrupting the Blue Devils attempts to get an offense going in the first half.
When B-A did start to develop their game in the final two quarters, Adam Hoover, Crabtree, Josh Clark, Jason Haney and Shane Gherrity kept the pressure on underneath with rebounds and layups and Kevin Hershberger bombed in threes from the outside and drew up for easy buckets in the middle to keep the Orange and Black in a comfortable lead.
“Overall, we made a lot of mistakes, that I thought we would make,” said Bellwood-Antis coach Tim Keech. “It’s going to be a year with growing pains. There are going to be games like this and we are going to have to learn to get through them and get right back in the gym the next day and get right back to work to get better. They did some trapping on the wings defensively. Last year, it was easy. A team puts pressure on us and what’s the answer-give the ball to Ricky Shannon and he would take care of it. This year we don’t have that luxury. Coach Stinson and I are really enjoying practice, because you have to go back and start all over.”
The Eagles continued to pile up their lead, adding a 21-13 third-period advantage to take a 51-28 lead and threatening to up their margin to 30 points. Hershberger, who had a game-high 27 points popped in three treys and hit the only two foul shots he took along the way. Adam Hoover pulled down just about every rebound he saw and added a dozen points as well and Crabtree was also in double figures with 10 points. If they Eagles showed a weakness, it was at the charity stripe, where they sunk just four of 11 free throws, but on Friday night, they didn’t need them.
“Kevin really picked up the slack and came out tough for us tonight,” said Harris. “Some of the guys weren’t shooting the ball as well as they could and Kevin stepped in. I was really pleased with the way he shot the ball. From here, we need to work on our rebounding and defensive positioning. I expected a lot of the things we did. We had some good things and we had some bad ones. Our goal is just to get better every game.”
Bellwood-Antis managed to outscore the Eagles in the fourth quarter 20-18, largely on the back of Shawn Weiand, who pumped in three straight treys and finished with a team-best 19 points and Paul Greiner, who added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils.
“As far as a coaching standpoint,” commented Keech, “I saw some bright spots. I saw some things that I really liked that our kids did. The mistakes I saw that we were making are mistakes that are correctable. They are things that are going to take hard work in practice and getting in game situations and starting to make that right play.”
Tyrone ran away with the junior varsity game using pretty much the same formula as the varsity. A 31-14 lead at the half ballooned to a 56-18 final with the Little Eagles outscoring B-A 25-4 over the final two quarters.
Doug Morrow poured in 17 points and Josh Clark and Adam Corle each added 12 for the winners. byran Kost had the only three-pointer among his seven points and Justin Wilson had six points. Brandon Boone had a team-high seven points for the Blue Devil Jayvees.
Tyrone (1-0) opens the home portion of their schedule against Indian Valley, a Mountain League opponent on Tuesday, Dec. 2, with the junior varsity starting at 6 p.m. and the varsity following at 7:30 p.m.
Bellwood-Antis (0-1) is also home on Tuesday, Dec. 2 hosting Penns Valley with Jayvee action beginning at 6 p.m. and the varsity following at 7:30 p.m. to open up Juniata Valley League play.
Tyrone 69 Bellwood-Antis 48
TYRONE – L. Wilson 2 0-1 4, Cushion 2 0-0 5, Hershberger 11 2-2 27, Hoover 6 0-4 12, Crabtree 4 1-2 10, Chamberlain 1 0-0 2, Gherrity 1 0-0 2, Clark 1 0-0 2, Corle 1 0-0 2, Haney 1 1-2 3, J. Wilson 0 0-0 0. 30 4-11 69.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Plummer 1 1-2 3, Weiand 6 4-4 19, M. DelGrosso 1 0-0 2, Greiner 5 7-11 17, McClellan 0 1-2 1, Bell 1 2-2 4, Brunner 1 0-0 2, Blazier 0 0-0 0, DeArmitt 0 0-0 0, Edmiston 0 0-0 0. 15 15-21 48.
Score by Quarters
Tyrone 15 15 21 18 – 69
Bellwood-Antis 9 6 13 20 – 48
Three Point Goals Tyrone 5 (Hershberger 3, Cushion 1, Crabtree).
Bellwood-Antis 3 (Weiand 3).