BELLEVILLE – Traditionally, when a team scores only eight points in one half of a basketball game, the odds of winning that game fall somewhere between slim and none.
Apparently, the Belleville Mennonite boys basketball team didn’t get that memo. The Trojans rallied from a five-point halftime deficit to defeat Sunbury Christian 40-33 at home Thursday night.
“This was a complete basketball game,” Belleville Mennonite coach Doug Snook said. “We played great on defense and had some clutch shooting down the sAtretch, clutch rebounds as well. This was by far our best game. As a team we moved the ball better. The guys looked like they were having fun.”
Leading the way in the scoring department for the Trojans was Sammy Kauffman with 14. His teammate Austin Byler ground out a hard-earned 13-point effort.
The Trojans got some clutch triples on the night by Steven Yoder and Noah Anders, who each hit a pair from behind the arc.
Ashton Bartlett and Karch Corey led the Eagles in scoring with 11 points each.
The Trojans trailed 13-8 when the third quarter got under way. With a simple change of positioning on the floor, Belleville came out red hot in the shooting department.
After a Sunbury bucket to open the third, the Trojans went on a 6-0 run. In that run, Byler picked up four points and Kauffman hit a field goal, cutting the lead to 15-14 with 6:10 left in the period.
The Eagles retaliated with a triple by Bartlett, put them up again by four.
But that basket just stopped the bleeding temporarily as Byler and Kauffman were back at it again, leading the Trojans on a 9-2 run and giving them their first lead since the game stood at 4-3.
Also standing tall in the scoring run was Anders, hitting a key 3-pointer, putting the Trojans ahead 21-20 with 3:11 left in the third.
Both teams exchanged buckets the rest of the way until the end of the quarter.
When the buzzer sounded and the final stanza was about to get under way, Belleville held a slim 25-24 lead.
Yoder extended his team’s lead as the fourth quarter got began, hitting two consecutive long balls and going on a personal 6-0 run to make it 31-24.
However, Sunbury fought back, cutting the Trojan lead to two at 31-29.
It was a battle down the stretch as the teams were tied at 33 with just a little over a minute to play.
With the Eagles in deep foul trouble, the Trojans went to the line in the final minute and rolled off four free throws and a field goal by Kauffman to make the final.
“Our defense really played well. We limited their shots, which in turn gave us more shot opportunities on the offensive end,” Snook said. ” I am really proud and happy with how they played.”
Belleville improved to 3-11 on the year.