Stoner reaches milestone
Senior reaches 1,000-point plateau in Bellaire victory
BELLAIRE — It was over early inside the ‘House of Champions’ at Bellaire High School Thursday evening.
The homestanding Big Reds scored the game’s first 10 points and, outside of a brief lapse in the second quarter, never looked back en route to claiming a convincing 68-35 repeat victory over Union Local.
Bellaire — now 11-1 entering a Saturday afternoon game at Wheeling Central — controlled the game by executing its usual gameplan, which included turning up the heat defensively and getting a lot of people involved offensively.
Both were executed flawlessly.
“We have four girls who have a lot of time invested, have a lot of shots up and have scored a lot of buckets during their careers,” Bellaire head coach John Farrier said. “Most importantly, they do a really good job of finding each other, too. It’s all a tribute to the girls.”
Though the outcome was never truly in doubt, there was a level of drama.
Senior standout Natalie Stoner entered the game needing just 11 points to become the 11th female in Bellaire history to join the 1,000-point club. She connected on a trey to open the game, but didn’t achieve her milestone goal until a conventional three-point play in the third quarter.
“Natalie deserve this,” Farrier said. “She set a (school) record for field goal percentage last year and her shooting has gotten better because she’s worked on it and invested a lot of time. I am very happy for her.”
Stoner finished with a game-high 18 points and currently has 1,007 points. She joined classmate Maci Crozier in the 1K club. Interestingly, the duo becomes the first female classmates to join the club. There’s been one set of male classmates (Jerry Ammirante and Jose Davis) turn the trick at Bellaire.
Crozier, ironically, was next in line for the Big Reds’ production chart with 16 points.
That duo fueled the quick start. Crozier got half of her points in the first andStoner had five. Throw in six from senior Michaela Flaherty, who finished with a solid 14 and the lead was 24-7 after one. Junior Katrina Davis also scored five of her 12 in the first quarter.
“I thought we had a ton of energy in the first quarter,” Farrier said. “Things were really going our way, but I think we settled in a little bit too much in the second quarter. When you bring a lot of energy, the ball goes through (the bucket) and when you don’t, it stops going in.”
Union Local did fight and claw, especially in the second quarter. The Jets took advantage when the Big Reds’ energy level seemed to drop. A 3-pointer from Casey Kildow, who led UL with 14, and a transition bucket by Hannah Porter got UL within 13, but Bellaire scored the final two buckets of the half to thwart any momentum.
“It got a little bit better for us (after the first quarter), but we made two stupid passes and it was back to like 20 again,” UL head coach Rob Barr said. “Bellaire’s a rugged team and we have trouble with that. They’re fast and athletic. Bellaire’s the best team I have seen. We have to re-group.”
Union Local hosts Beaver Local Saturday in a 3 p.m. jayvee tilt. The Big Reds game against the Maroon Knights is a 1 p.m. reserve game.