BVA surprises Ringgold, 73-52
Belle Vernon Area couldn't have picked a better time for its first win of the season.
It came in the Section 4 AAA opener against one of its biggest rivals, Ringgold, 73-52 on the Leps' floor in their home debut.
“Our intensity level was really high,” said second-year BVA coach Eric James, a 1975 Ringgold graduate where he was also a cage standout.
The Leps (1-3, 0-1) never trailed after taking an 8-0 lead in the opening 3:13 and held a commanding 35-16 halftime lead.
“We knew Ringgold had an athletic team and my players looked at me somewhat surprised when I told them we were going to start out playing man-to-man defense,” James said. “Our kids came to play, play defense and it paid off. The turnovers were limited for us and that was huge. We were running and then everything snowballed.”
Ringgold coach Pete Logan couldn't say the same.
“We were not playing with a system,” he said. “We kept compounding mistakes and weren't contesting shots. We gave them comfidence early.”
The Leps, who entered the contest averaging 48 points, hit 32 of 65 shots from the floor.
The Rams (1-3, 0-1) set the tone early by missing their first eight shots and managed only six points the second quarter when their two top scorers, John Maldonado and Dayshore Majors, were held scoreless.
Despite picking up three fouls in the first half, Jason Capco led the Leps with 19 points.
Jake Sweitzer followed with 15 points, all in the first three quarters.
Jesse Kallam tacked on 11 points whie Aaron McCullough came off the bench in the second half to add 10 points.
Cody Menges scored all eight of his points in the third quarter including a pair of treys.
Maldonao finished with a game-high 20 points including 10 in the final seven minutes. He hit two treys in the first and fourth quarters.
Demetrius Louis had 11 points, while Majors closed with five, 10 under his average.
“Our rebounding was great,” said James. “The players did a good job of boxing out.”
Kallam finished with a game-high 13 rebounds, three more than Capco and Sweitzer.
The loss was the third straight for the Rams, all on the road and within 96 hours.
“It's a long season, but a short season,” said Logan. “It's not time to hit the panic button.”
LEFTOVERS: The last time BVA beat Ringgold was in 2009 in BVA's season-opening tourney at home. BVA has gone 1-11 in their last two section campaigns. The Leps resume Wednesday at Mt. Pleasant in a non-section game. The Leps' next home game isn't until Jan. 11 against East Allegheny. Eight of BVA's first nine games are on the road. Ringgold is home with Steel Valley Tuesday.
Brian Herman is a freelance writer.