Bellaire debuts impressively

Prior to the start of the 2012-13 girls’ high school basketball season, Bellaire head coach Marci Bonar said she wanted her team to win every quarter this season.

So far, so good.

The Lady Big Reds debuted in fine fashion Monday night with a 63-31 Buckeye 8 thumping of homestanding Buckeye Local in Connorville.

“We held them to 31 points, which was great,” Bonar said. “They scored 10 in the first quarter and we told the girls that we can’t let them score more than that a quarter. The girls did a nice job.”

Bellaire jumped out to an 8-0 lead and never looked back. Senior Myleah Green tallied six of her 10 points in the opening eight minutes and sophomore Keirstyn Kidder added five of her game-high 21 as the visitors led 19-10.

The Panthers turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter, and added eight more in the second as Bellaire roared to a 39-19 halftime advantage.

“We seemed to be in the right place all the time defensively,” Bonar said of the first half performance. “We played very aggressive, but we didn’t foul, and that was a key. That was fun to watch tonight.”

It wasn’t so nice for Buckeye Local head coach Willy Luther.

“We’ve been talking in practices and scrimmages about having strong starts, but we dug ourselves a hole early and weren’t able to get out of it,” he said. “We just kept getting further and further behind, and at the end when you looked up at the scoreboard, the results weren’t very favorable for us.

“We’ve got to do a much better job of valuing the basketball,” he continued. “We need to take care of the basketball during each possession and learn to be more aggressive when it is in our hands. A lot of our turnovers were non-aggressive turnovers and those are the kind that are very difficult to take as a coach.”

Although Bellaire did allow 11 points in the third quarter, it scored 15 itself to build a commanding 54-30 lead heading into the final stanza.

Junior Cari Crozier netted seven of her 15 markers in that third-quarter surge.

Kidder meshed four free throws in the fourth quarter as the Big Reds owned a 9-1 scoring margin.

“These girls give 100 percent all the time and I never have to question their effort,” Bonar praised.

Kidder led four double digit scorers for Bellaire with the aforementioned 21. Crozier added her 15, while Green and freshman Nina Crook evenly divided 20, with Crook rainbowing in a trio of treys.

“Keirstyn and Cari played very well together. We were able to get the rebound and get the ball out and upcourt,” Bonar noted. “We will have to do that because we are so small.”

Kayla Fillipovich was the Panthers’ lone twin figure scorer with 10 points. She also pulled down five rebounds despite playing with a torn ACL.

“She was just released to play last week,” Luther said of his 5-11 senior. “She really hasn’t practiced much because of the injury, but she will get into shape really quick.”

Buckeye Local enjoyed a 40-33 edge off the glass as Lauren Swiger grabbed a game-high eight boards. Kierstyn Czuchran and Becky Zeroski each landed five. Green led Bellaire with seven and also charted four steals.

The Panthers finished with 28 turnovers, nine more than the Big Reds, who committed a dozen in the second half when the game was already decided.

Bellaire will make its home debut Thursday against Bridgeport. Buckeye Local is idle until Monday when it treks to Cadiz to meet Harrison Central.

Buckeye Local won the JV game, 33-30.

Varsity scoring:

BELLAIRE (63) – Crozier 5 5-6 15; Green 4 2-2 10; Kidder 6 7-7 21; Messenger 1 1-2 3; Ryan 0 1-2 1; Crook 3 1-2 10; Gillespie 0 0-0 0; Maupin 1 0-0 2; Garloch 0 1-2 1; Duffy 0 0-0 0; Smith 0 0-0 0; Totals: 20-46 18-23. BUCKEYE LOCAL (31) – Zeroski 1 2-4 4; Swiger 2 0-2 4; Fedorko 0 1-2 1; Valuska 1 1-2 3; Balk 3 2-3 8; Fillipovich 5 0-0 10; Czuchran 0 1-2 1; Leonard 0 0-0 0; Banal 0 0-0 0; Taylor 0 0-0 0; Smith 0 0-0 0; Totals: 12-46 7-15.

Three-Point Goals: Bellaire (5) – Crook 3, Kidder 2.