BELLEFONTE — In a game that was dominated by the play of the guards on both ends of the court, Philipsburg-Osceola’s diamond press proved to be the difference in the Mounties’ 67-52 Mountain League win over Bellefonte on Wednesday.
The Mounties forced 30 turnovers and converted the miscues into 25 points. Meanwhile, Bellefonte scored only 13 points off 28 P-O turnovers.
“Our defense played much better than it has in a couple of games,” said P-O assistant coach Mel Curtis. “The diamond press kept us in the game defensively because offensively we didn’t play our ‘A’ game but it was enough to win.”
P-O (5-4, 4-3 Mountain League) had three players score in double figures with Jon Whitman leading the way with a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds. Sophomore Luke Curtis tossed in 11 while sophomore Brandon Myers came off the bench with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Dusty Golding added nine points and 10 rebounds and Joe Komisar eight points and 10 rebounds.
“We’ve been using Brandon and Dusty off the bench when JD Mason is playing,” explained Curtis. “But JD is on vacation and we’ve had to go to the bench. Brandon brings a new level of activity to the game with a lot of high energy. He just doesn’t stop. He’s a real pit bull out there on the floor.”
Junior Seth Tressler was the lone Red Raider to reach double figures, finishing with 13 points and Mitch Colpetzer added eight. Robby Irwin, Ryan Lynch and Marcus Maggs each added six points with Irwin grabbing 13 rebounds. Zach Tressler pulled down 10 rebounds for Bellefonte (0-9).
“Tonight was a little more frustrating,” said Bellefonte coach Dan Miller. “We used a lot of energy to battle back then they go on a couple of runs and it’s tough to handle the situations. It tough to explain but that’s basketball. The game is a game of runs and it’s tough to battle back like we did and then have P-O run off five-six points to erase what we did to get back in the game.”
P-O, behind four points each from Whitman and Komisar, took the opening period 11-8 with Robbie Irwin’s four points pacing the Red Raiders. The Mounties, behind Myers’ nine points, outscored the Red Raiders 24-13 in the second period to take a commanding 35-21 halftime lead.
Bellefonte took the lead at 18-15 on a Colpetzer three before P-O, behind five points from Myers and a rebound and putback from Whitman, gave the Mounties a 7-0 run and a 22-18 lead with 3:34 to go in the half.
“I thought the defense, coming off the holiday tournament, played especially well,” said Curtis. “Offensively, we had our moments with some turnovers in key situations and that hurt. We are pleased with the win but it wasn’t pretty in any way shape or form.” P-O outscored Bellefonte 14-4 for a 49-25 lead entering the fourth period.
“It’s been a little tough and a lot of little things,” Miller said. “It’s nothing major. We use four guards to try and pressure the ball and thought we could make some things happen. But that created a lot of space on the floor that use need a mindset to play that type of defense.”