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Belle Vernon Area runs away from Ringgold

| Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Belle Vernon's Phil Baldini (3) puts up two against Ringgold's Shakal Brooks (11) at the Belle Vernon Area High School on Friday, December 13,2013, with the final Belle Vernon 62 and Ringgold 37.

A year ago in the midst of a 3-18 season, the boys' basketball coach at Belle Vernon Area would have been thrilled with a win — any win.

Three games into the 2013-14 season, new BVA coach Kyle DeGregorio found something to not be thrilled about after watching his team dominate Ringgold, 62-37, in a Section 4 AAA opener.

“I wasn't happy with our immaturity in the first half,” DeGregorio said. “Good teams take every possession in a game seriously and don't waste them. But when we got up on them early, we were so happy to be way ahead that we celebrated a little and gave some possessions away.

“That's immaturity on our part and if we want to be a good basketball team, we need to take every possession seriously.”

However, it seemed like the Leps (2-1, 1-0) took enough possessions seriously to roll past the inexperienced Rams (1-3, 0-1).

BVA jumped to a commanding 20-4 lead in the first quarter as Phil Baldini scored nine of his game-high 20 points.

The Leps led by as many as 19 points (34-15) in the first half before settling in on a 34-17 lead at halftime.

Baldini had 12 points and Billy Burrows had all nine of his points on three 3-pointers as the Leps made seven treys before intermission.

“Tonight was all about Jason Capco,” DeGregorio said of his leading scorer, who finished with 13 points but had just two in the first half. “Phil Baldini and Billy Burrows could not have scored the points they did if it weren't for Jason Capco. Jason played a very unselfish game. He had a lot of open lanes, but he gave the ball to his teammates. Tonight he played a college basketball game.”

Meanwhile, the Rams failed to hit the 40-point mark for the third consecutive game as they continue to experience growing pains under coach Phil Pergola.

“We just can't shoot,” he said. “We'll get better, I promise. But it's going to take time. I have the patience. Our coaching staff has the patience. I just hope our fans have the patience.”

Pergola said BVA played a good game, but added, “I don't want to take anything away from them, but I don't think it was so much their defense as it was just our inability to score.”

In the second half, the Leps stayed comfortably ahead throughout. They got the lead to 20 points for the first time when Capco hit the first of two free throws with 7:29 left in the game to make it 46-26.

Capco scored seven points in the fourth quarter, all from the free throw line.

The Rams were led by freshman George Martin with 14 points, including seven in the third quarter.

Ringgold goes to Steel Valley on Tuesday.

“We get Steel Valley Wednesday at our place and that's going to be a big-time game for us,” DeGregorio said. “But I think we will be up for the challenge. We are becoming a good basketball team.”

Even if the Leps are a little immature at times.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or

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