BELLAIRE - Basketball is a game of four quarters, which is something Bellaire St. John Fighting Irish head coach Kevin Lahna will be stressing after his team's first quarter showing created a 13-point deficit that they couldn't overcome, as the Beallsville Blue Devils took one on Guernsey Street Friday night by a score of 62-49.
"We had 15 turnovers in the first quarter, which is something we don't have the firepower to come back from. We can't give teams opportunities like that," Lahna explained.
His Green team fell behind 18-5 in that first stanza, and proved the determining factor as they trailed by around ten the majority of the remaining time of play.
BEALLSVILLE’S Chase Mercer goes up for a shot during Friday’s game in Bellaire against St. John Central. Mercer, a freshman, led all scorers in the game with 20 points. The Blue Devils posted a 62-49 victory against the Irish. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
The game wasn't given to Beallsville (9-9) though, as St John's (7-12) defense tried to eliminate 1,000-point Blue Devil scorer Teryn Jarrett, who collected a sub-average 14 stripes, through defensive strategics via Malik Ford in the first half, who made a valiant effort to counter.
"Malik played a great game defensively, he did a great job doing what we asked of him," Lahna praised of his sophomore youngster.
After having some extra attention paid to Jarrett, freshman Chase Mercer seized the opportunity in leading his team with a game high 20-point effort, knocking down a pair of treys along the way.
"They tried to limit one of our key parts, and a couple others guys did a nice job to step up while we had to work to get Teryn some open looks," Blue Devil head coach Casey Tolzda observed. "Chase Mercer is just a freshman, that's his career high, and he's quick and a hustler." Logan Nippert chipped in 11, including a trio of hits from beyond the arch.
St John's was led by Kyle Imer who bucketed 12-points, while Alex Francis and DJ Shoemaker split 22 evenly. "DJ and Alex had a great game, even with DJ not playing at full strength. Those guys always try to give us a good effort night in and night out," Lahna said. The Irish did manage a 7 for 8 line at the night, but couldn't hold off the offensive power and ball movement of the opposition.
"We fought and persevered through the end, we missed a lot of free throws early, and took care of the ball more at the end.
Give it to St. John's though, they are coming along now." Tolzda acknowledged. "We wanted to switch defenses, and presses, to give some different looks to try to mix it up" he continued.
Heading into the last two games of the season, the Blue Devils look to make the most of what they can have say in, as they sit on the bubble in the OVAC standings.
"We have been sitting in fifth place for some time, and obviously we want to get to the top four. I told the kids, we're still within a couple points from that, with a couple games left.
"We still get a shot at Frontier and Paden City, who is one of those top four teams right now." Tolzda evaluated.
St John's regular season concluded with this loss and now wait for post season play to begin. "We're done with the our schedule at this point, so we can go to work these next few days to get ready for our next challenge," Lahna said.
The Irish did have a solid effort from the line as they notched 7 for 8 from the charity stripe opposed to a less-than-desired 10 for 20 effort for the visitors.
Beallsville host Frontier Monday night as the 2013 regular season comes to an end, with a chance late in the campaign to sneak into OVAC contention.
BEALLSVILLE (62) -- Louden 0 0-0 0; Rush 0 0-0 0; Palmer 1 1-2 3; Groves 3 3-6 9; Weekly 0 0-0 0; Mercer 8 2-2 20; Susac 0 0-0 0; Jarret 6 1-1 14; Nippert 4 0-2 11; Dietrich 0 0-0 0; Campbell 0 0-0 0; Secrest 1 3-7 5; Totals- 23 10-20 62. ST JOHN (49) -- Francis 4 2-2 11; Shoemaker 3 5-6 11; Holubeck 1 0-0 2; Ford 0 0-0 0; Alvey 3 0-0 7; Jones 0 0-0 0; Williams 0 0-0 0; Clemons 0 0-0 0; Murray 0 0-0 0; Bossell 0 0-0 0; Melko 3 0-0 6; Imer 5 0-0 12; Totals 19 7-8 49
Three-Point Field Goals - B -- 6 (Nippert 3,Mercer 2, Jarret 1) SJC 4 ( Imer 2, Francis 1, Alvey 1).
Muklewicz may be reached at email@example.com