BELLEVILLE - It was a game of two halves Thursday when the Juniata Mennonite boys basketball team met up with Belleville Mennonite.
The visiting Lions opened up the first half taking a commanding 29-12 lead but needed enough to hold on against a late second-half run by Belleville Mennonite en route to the 50-38 victory.
In the second half, the Trojans put the pressure on, outscoring the Lions 26-21 - still falling short in their effort to come back against Juniata Mennonite.
Three Juniata Mennonite players ended the night in double figures as Caleb Gehman, Luke Showers and Jessie Watts finished with 14-, 12- and 11-point performances, respectively.
Austin Byler was the lone Trojan player that finished in double digits, scoring 13. Six of those points came from beyond the three-point line.
Belleville Mennonite posted five triples in the game while Juniata Mennonite hit five from long distance.
IF YOU GO
Belleville Mennonite hosts Harrisburg Academy today at 7:30 p.m.
Juniata Mennonite travels to Mansfield New Covenant today at 6:30 p.m.
Juniata Mennonite started off taking it right at the heart of the Belleville Mennonite defense. In the opening five minutes, the Lions went 5-for-6 from the charity stripe, giving them a 5-2 lead.
Juniata Mennonite then went to its outside game, hitting two triples, while Belleville Mennonite retaliated with one. Both JMS long balls were from the hot hand of Luke Showers,who scored 10 of his 12 points in the opening quarter.
At the end of one, the Lions doubled the Trojans' total, leading 14-7.
"I was pleased with the first half. We got the job done defensively and offensively we were finishing," Juniata Mennonite coach Dennis Zimmerman said. "The second half we started throwing ball around, making terrible passes. Sometimes these younger guys they get into a situation where they see the opposing team starting to comeback they start responding to the pressure the wrong way."
Juniata Mennonite continued the second quarter where it left off in the first, getting strong efforts in the scoring column from Gehman, Adrian Martin and Jessie Watts.
The defense was tough on the Belleville Mennonite shooters, allowing only five points in the quarter while its offense picked up a game high 15 points.
When the two teams went to intermission, the Lions were in charge, leading 29-12.
The Trojans went to a perimeter game in the second half, picking up an 8-7 advantage in the third quarter and outscoring the Lions 18-14 in the final stanza.
However, it was too little, too late as the Trojans came up short.
"That's what happens when you start out slow," Snook said of the unsuccessful comeback attempt. "(In the) second half we really picked it up. We were without our big guy Sam Morgan tonight. The second half, especially in the fourth quarter, the guys started to play. It was a little bit too late. I think it's a good lesson for us."