Bellaire completes season sweep of Harrison, 59-46

BELLAIRE — J.R. Battista is a firm believer that a strong defense is moot if it doesn’t result in offense on the other end.

The Bellaire head coach got both Tuesday night as his Big Reds downed Harrison Central, 59-46, inside the ‘House of Champions’ to sweep the season series from their Buckeye 8 rivals.

Bellaire (5-5) forced 20 turnovers in moving back within striking distance of fourth in the OVAC Class 3A standings.

”I thought we played really well on defense,” he said. ”Played hard … came up with a lot of 50-50 balls.

”We played really well. We needed that.”

Most of the miscuses the Big Reds forced were turned into points, something that helped turn a tight contest into a double-digit Bellaire lead early in the second quarter.

”What really helped us, too, is we made some shots we’d been missing,” Battista said.

”We’ve been getting stops. But you have to get stops and then make shots. It puts pressure on the other team.”

The Huskies (3-7) started strong, but watched the Big Reds outscore them 17-9 in the second quarter, including an 8-0 spurt that started in the first and continued into the second. Chase Yoho, who led all scorers with 25 points, had eight during the run.

Harrison Central weathered Bellaire’s storm, albeit briefly. Bellaire ended the third quarter on a 16-3 run to put things away.

”They just made plays and we didn’t,” Harrison Central head coach Justin Clifford said. ”We let their pressure dictate the game a little bit instead of going at them.

”We kind of were a little passive in the second half.”

The Big Reds were a fly in the ointment of the Huskies’ offense all night, always with a hand in the face of a shooter or reaching for the ball. Tyson Camsky went in for a layup off a turnover giving the Big Reds a 35-25 lead, prompting Clifford to call time with 3:46 remaining in the third.

Moments after the timeout, Harrison Central was racing in for what appeared to be an easy layup, but D’eondre Burney ran in, swatted the shot away, and Bellaire went the other way with Yoho scoring on a layup that caused Clifford to call for another stoppage.

But while Bellaire was efficient on the defensive end, Battista was pleased with how his team operated against the Huskies’ zone, too.

”Nothing good against the zone comes quick,” he explained. ”It takes time. All five guys have to move the ball until you find creases. And we found some.”

In addition to Yoho, Camsky also scored in double figures with 11, while Justyn Keyser had 10.

Tyler Redish paced the Huskies with 19 points, while Caden Arbaugh had 14.

The Huskies won the junior varsity tilt, 45-34.

NOTE

Prior to the tip of the varsity contest, a moment of silence took place to honor the memory of Pam Ammirante. Ammirante, the wife of longtime Big Reds head coach Gene Ammirante and aunt to Battista, died Thursday following a long battle with cancer.

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