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Bellaire beats Buckeye Local

BELLAIRE — Receiving a strong one-two punch effort from Mayson Sochor and MacMac Pettigrew, Bellaire pocketed a 74-63 win over Buckeye Local Friday night at the House of Champions.

Sochor, displaying a deft outside shooting touch, topped all scorers with 29 points while Pettigrew, making the most of his impressive quickness, was right behind with 26 markers. The senior dandies combined for 17 first-quarter points in staking the Big Reds to a 24-12 lead after the initial period. The hosts would stretch that advantage only to see the Panthers make a spirited late third-quarter comeback.

Sochor, the reigning OHSAA D-III high hurdles champion, buried four treys on the night to go with eight boards. Pettigrew was the catalyst of Bellaire’s menacing fullcourt press as he recorded seven steals. All told, the Big Reds forced 29 Panthers turnovers.

The triumph evened Coach J.R. Battista’s charges at 1-1 on the campaign after dropping a heartbreaking nod to Brooke in their opener. The Panthers, meanwhile, fell to 0-3.

“It is always good to win,” Battista offered. I thought we played well at the beginning of the game but we need to improve on how we play in the middle of the game.

“Buckeye Local made some tough shots and made us work for the win,” added the former Bellaire All-Ohioan. “I was happy with how we pressured them. We were able to get some easy buckets off our press.”

Sochor and Pettigrew came up big in the second quarter, enabling the hosts to stretch their upper hand to 47-30 at halftime. Sochor poured in 11 more points while Pettigrew added six tallies, as did Caleb Jewell.

To their credit, Buckeye Local didn’t pack it in at intermission. Rather, Coach Chris Heaton’s squad pared the deficit to 52-47 after three chapters. Gavyn Romanyak, a 6-5 senior force, triggered the comeback with eight points in the frame while talented junior Trey Dunn produced five more.

Buckeye made it a four-point issue at the outset of the fourth quarter. The Panthers, however, would get no closer as Pettigrew and the Bellaire pressure again took their toll on the Jefferson Countian by forcing nine fourth-quarter turnovers. Pettigrew produced 12 points in the final eight minutes.

“We got off to a real tough start. Their pressure really hurt us,” Heaton said. “We knew they were going to press us but it is tough to simulate their quickness, especially Pettigrew, in practice.

“But I was proud our kids in the second half. We showed a lot of resiliency, cutting it to four points after being down so much,” he added. “Our schedule really is brutal. We got games with Martins Ferry and Marietta coming up.”

Sochor and Pettigrew were supported in the scoring column by Jewell’s eight counters and Luca D’Aquila’s seven lightings.

Buckeye Local placed a trio of players in double figures.

Dunn paced the Panthers with 22 points and a handful of assists. Romanyak powered his way for 20 points while senior Ryder Kindberg-Colabelli chipped in with 14 markers.

Bellaire, which also prevailed in the reserve contest, committed 13 turnovers. The Big Reds return to action Tuesday, hosting St. Clairsville.

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