BELLEVILLE - Belleville Mennonite played host to Sunbury Christian Thursday night with hopes of knocking off the Allegheny Christian Athletic Association's top girls basketball team.
The visiting Eagles, however, had other plans.
Despite each team stumbling out of the gates, persistent defense and timely buckets were too much for the Trojans as the team fell to the Eagles, 40-17.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY?KREITZER
Belleville Mennonite’s Grace Peachey, left, looks to pass around Sunbury Christian’s Jessalyn Stuck Thursday in Belleville. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
Bellville Mennonite battled in the first quarter and was able to fight its way to within two as one of Sunbury Christian's top players found herself in foul trouble and on the bench.
"We played OK defense in the first quarter," Belleville Mennonite coach Ally Zook said. "We were dead on our feet in the last three quarters."
The difference was small after eight minutes - a two-point margin - and the Eagles had just a seven-point edge going into the locker room. Shooting was a problem for both sides - misses because of shot selection, especially from 3-point range, where neither team was successful, to block and missed second chances when the Trojans showed some promise on the boards.
IF YOU GO
* Belleville Mennonite travels to Johnstown Christian today
An off night shooting for the Eagles was remedied by playing solid defense and creating turnovers.
"Their defense was a tough defense," Zook said. "It was like a zone-man, and it was tough for the girls to break. We haven't met that all season."
Eagle defenders were good at crowding the ball, so even when Belleville Mennonite was in position to score, there weren't many openings to get to the bucket. Sunbury Christian denied the paint all night.
Sunbury Christian's 11-point lead quickly grew in the fourth quarter and the Trojans were suddenly looking up at a 23-point deficit.
Hard work on the boards yielded some second chance opportunities for the Trojans but the shooting woes continued.
Freshman Grace Peachey stepped up for Belleville as she led the way on the glass and notched 10 of her team's 17 total points.
"I was proud of Grace tonight," Zook said. "She took shots, she made shots and her boards were excellent as well."
Sunbury Christian, meanwhile, had two in double figures - Torri Erdman led the game with 15 points - but was 8-of-10 at the charity stripe to pad its total.
Belleville Mennonite (2-11) will look to bounce back as it travels west tonight to take on Johnstown Christian.