Bellaire pulls away from Toronto in the fourth

BELLAIRE — Bellaire’s basketball team is starting to find its way.

As the Big Reds dropped the curtain on the regular season, Friday night, they found themselves on the winning side for the third straight outing.

While J.R. Battista is certainly pleased with his team’s 63-57 victory, he was satisified with how his team was able to get it done, especially in the fourth quarter.

“That game won’t go down in the annals of beautiful basketball, but we’ll take a win,” Battista said. “We made enough plays.”

The Big Reds and Red Knights found themselves locked in a 45-all game after three quarters, but Toronto’s Brandon Mayas opened the fourth with a 3-pointer. However, that proved to be Toronto’s last lead.

Bellaire, as it had done seemingly each time Toronto seemed to gain a little bit of momentum, answered. Junior David Zwack knotted the game with a bonus goal of his own and that ignited what resulted in a 9-0 run. It also included an Owen Ward bonus goal.

“It got away from us somewhat in the fourth,” Toronto head coach Sean Tucker said. “We made some bad mistakes with the ball. There were like three or four key turnovers that really cost us. That totally falls on me because it’s my job to make sure we don’t turn the ball over, we do box out and to make sure our guys are ready to play. This is the second game in a row where I didn’t have our guys ready to play an entire game.”

The 3-point line was good to the Big Reds. All told, they dialed long distance eight times, evenly divided between Zwack and Ward, who each went for 17. Those long-range shots are what Tucker pointed to immediately after the game.

“We didn’t do a good job of contesting their outside shots,” Tucker lamented. “We wanted to contest more in the second half after not doing a good job of that in the first half. We knew (Ward and Zwack) are really good set shooters and if they get their feet under them, they can stroke it.”

The Red Knights scored six of the next eight to get back within two. The big basket on the run was another Mayas trey, which followed a missed front end of a bonus situation. However, senior Trenton Wilson tallied inside for the Big Reds.

A couple of possessions later, following another missed foul shot, Mayas connected again from behind the arc, making it 58-57. But, Wilson had the answer once again and Creed Rhodes stopped the Big Reds’ bleeding at the line by knocking down a pair.

“We were getting stops and getting to the line, which is usually how you win a game, but we kept missing the free throws,” Battista lamented. “And they kept hitting treys on the other end. Thankfully, Wilson made some plays as he’s done, really, all season.”

Wilson was the Big Reds’ scoring leader with 18 points. Ward and Zwack were next in line.

The Red Knights were led by Mayas’ 29. Nolan Clegg added 13 and Anthony Myslinsky netted 11.

Bellaire is now 6-16 and is off until opening Division III tournament play at Fort Frye on Feb. 25. Toronto, which is 8-13, will visit Martins Ferry Tuesday before hosting Tuscarawas Central Catholic in the Division IV sectional on Feb. 25.

Bellaire 63, Toronto 57

Toronto 12-18-15-12 — 57

Bellaire 14-19-12-18 — 63

TORONTO: Reeves 1, 0-0 2; Mayas 9, 6-9 29; Myslinsky 4, 2-4 11; Clegg 5, 3-4 13; Ellis 1, 0-1 2; Hanlin 0, 0-0 0; Anderson 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 20, 11-18 57. BELLAIRE: Ward 6, 1-3 17; Zwack 6, 1-3 17; Wilson 8, 2-5 18; Littell 0, 0-0 0; McCarthy 3, 0-0 6; Rhodes 0, 2-2 2; Cash 1, 1-1 3; Totals: 24, 7-14 63.

3-point goals: Toronto: Mayas (5), Myslinsky. Bellaire Ward (4), Zwack (4).