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BVA gives DeGregorio first win

| Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Jim Ference/The Valley Independent
BV Area basketball coach Kyle DeGregorio picked up his first win as the Leps beat Mt. Pleasant, 52-41.

The Belle Vernon Area boys' basketball team jumped out to a 16-point halftime lead over the visiting Mt. Pleasant Vikings and coasted through to a 52-41 victory, the first win for the Leps under new head coach Kyle DeGregorio.

“It feels great,” DeGregorio said. “The kids worked really hard. I'm happy for the kids. It's not about me, it's about them. Knowing what their record was last year, it was good to get that first one.”

The Leps (1-1), coming off a 3-18 season a year ago, were able to nab their first victory of the campaign by taking advantage of a game that Mt. Pleasant would like to forget about.

In what would become common practice throughout the contest, the Vikings (1-3) would miss a three-point attempt, grab the rebound, and miss a layup or two before the Leps would corral the ball and turn the transition into points.

BVA outhustled and outshot Mt. Pleasant on their way to a 29-13 halftime lead. Instrumental in the first half was senior Jason Capco, who put up 17 of his game-high 20 points before the intermission.

Capco made both three-pointers he attempted and the Leps as a team made 4-of-11 from beyond the arc.

“The game plan was what it always is,” DeGregorio said. “We need to come in with a high level of energy, we need to play really hard, and we need to maintain our focus and play Belle Vernon basketball and I think that is what we did for the most part tonight.”

In the second half, Mt. Pleasant's game improved and the Leps seemed content to coast, but even as the Vikings pulled within eight midway through the fourth quarter it never seemed like the game was in jeopardy.

The Vikings were able to effectively take Capco out of the game offensively and some of their shots began to fall, in particular those by Mitch Matlas. Matlas was 1-of-6 from three-point range in the first half, but went 3-for-6 in the second half as he finished with 17 points.

But a trio of Leps was able to step up offensively in the second half, keeping the game out of reach for Mt. Pleasant. Devin Hannon and Travis Snyder added eight and seven points, respectively, in the second half (both finished with 11 on the night) and Phil Baldini contributed eight on the night, six in the second half.

“I think it was a pretty collective effort,” DeGregorio said. “All the kids played well. They have been working hard for a long time and it's good to get that first one out of the way, to get the monkey off our back as we look forward to our section opener on Friday.”

The Leps will host Ringgold Friday night in a section opener for both teams starting at 7:30 p.m.

Donnie Tasser is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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