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Family matters for Bellhy siblings, W&J basketball

| Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, 11:09 p.m.
Siblings Nate (left), Beka and Zach Bellhy, who were standouts at Fort Cherry, play basketball for Washington & Jefferson. (Washington & Jefferson College)

The Bellhys are a close-knit family. So close that three siblings play the same sport for the same college.

Senior Zach, sophomore Nate and freshman Beka Bellhy (pronounced Bell-hi) give the Washington & Jefferson basketball teams a unique trio.

“The fact that three of them are here at the same time is awesome,” men's coach Glenn Gutierrez said. “That they're able to do that is really something special.”

The siblings, all 1,000-point scorers at Fort Cherry, get plenty of time to cheer each other on; the Presidents' Athletic Conference schedules men's-women's doubleheaders. The setup also gives their parents, Tom and Jan, a special three-for-one deal. That's key because they attend home and away games, going as far as Thomas More College, which is a five-hour trip from their home in McDonald to Crestview Hills, Ky.

It makes for a crazy winter for Tom and Jan, especially because they have two other daughters, Rachel and Tina, who play varsity basketball for Fort Cherry.

“From mid-November to mid-February, we're just running all over the place,” said Tom, a pastor at Third Presbyterian Church in Washington. “It's usually games Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. We don't miss too many. I'll bet Jan and I can count on one hand the number of times we've missed a game.”

Their children have given them plenty of highlights.

Zach, a 6-foot-3 guard, moved into fourth place on W&J's career scoring list Saturday with 1,472 points. He ranks second in the conference with 18.8 points per game.

Nate, a 6-6 forward, averages 14.5 points and a conference-leading 9.1 rebounds for the Presidents (8-17). He transferred from Division II Seton Hill over the summer, in large part so he could spend one more season with his older brother.

“It has definitely been fun since I haven't been able to (play alongside Zach) in a while,” Nate said.

The brothers are big scorers, but they do it in different ways. Zach is quicker, while Nate — who at 220 outweighs his older brother by 30 pounds — is more of an inside presence.

“Zach can score in more ways,” Gutierrez said. “Zach is able to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. He is able to create points off the dribble using his handle and athleticism. Nate is probably a better shooter. Nate has a better interior game that he's developed since he came here.”

The brothers don't match up often in practice because they're usually on the same team. Zach said he can't remember the last time they played one-on-one, but he won't concede anything to his little brother.

“I am older and have a little more experience, so I'd like to think I can take advantage of that,” Zach said.

Off the court, the siblings see a lot of each other, too. Nate said he's over at Zach's apartment-style dorm almost every day.

And Beka, who averages 5.6 points and 4.8 rebounds, has three classes with Nate and is under the watchful eye of her older brothers.

“We're always looking out,” Zach said, “making sure she's not getting into any kind of trouble.”

Jeff Vella is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jvella@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JeffVella_Trib.

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