High School Sports

Penns Valley boys’ basketball grinds out win over Bellefonte at Rec Hall

Bellefonte's Tyler Kreger dribbles down the court with the ball between Penns Valley defenders during the game at Penn State's Rec Hall on Friday, December 11, 2015.
Bellefonte's Tyler Kreger dribbles down the court with the ball between Penns Valley defenders during the game at Penn State's Rec Hall on Friday, December 11, 2015. adrey@centredaily.com

It wasn’t high-scoring, and it certainly wasn’t pretty.

Penns Valley boys’ basketball coach Terry Glunt was OK with that, as long as the Rams came out on top.

On Friday night, they did.

In game two of a Rec Hall doubleheader, Penns Valley grinded out a 33-29 win over Bellefonte at the historic venue.

It was an affair devoid of showstopping, jaw-dropping plays. Instead, the Rams and Red Raiders hit the deck for loose balls, implemented disciplined zone defense, and took open shots when they had them.

Those chances were few and far between, but Glunt was pleased.

“There was a buzz, real palpable early on,” Glunt reflected. “But as the game wore on, people were put to sleep by what was going on out on the court.

“I don’t mind putting people to sleep if we’re going to win.”

The Rams accomplished that, improving to 3-0 on the young season. Logan Pearce led Penns Valley with 13 points, while Ben Alexander contributed 10.

After a 7-0 run to end the first quarter, perpetuated by a couple fastbreak buckets by Alexander, it initially looked like the Rams could push that advantage even further.

But the tempo calmed down, the score was 21-16 in favor of Penns Valley at halftime, and Bellefonte coach Darin Hazel liked what his team was doing.

The Red Raiders were managing the game, and the defensive struggle persisted into the third quarter.

Bellefonte and Penns Valley combined for eight points in the period, the Red Raiders with three and Rams with five. Bellefonte scored its lone field goal with 23 seconds left in the period.

“You’ve got two teams zoning it up in 2015,” Glunt said. “It’s not what they show on TV.”

The fourth quarter, on the other hand, was a bit more exciting.

Bellefonte nearly knotted things up.

Down six points with seconds to go in regulation, Bellefonte guard Kellen Moss nailed a crucial 3-pointer. The Red Raiders trailed by only three with 3.1 seconds to go. It was the closest the game had been since the first quarter.

Bellefonte was forced to foul on the subsequent inbound, sending Pearce to the free-throw line for a one-and-one.

It was a situation Hazel was happy to be in.

“For us to be down three points with an opportunity off a front-end one-and-one to get a shot off to tie it, we had opportunities,” Hazel said.

But Pearce was confident.

A 3-pointer earlier in the fourth quarter by the senior juiced Penns Valley’s student section behind him. After the follow-through, he let his hand hang for a few seconds out of admiration.

“It all connected,” Pearce said with a smile.

He needed the same self-assurance on the one-and-one. Pearce stepped to the line, and released. It was good. The Rams were up by four.

“It felt so good just to put it away for our team,” Pearce said.

“At that point, we could start the bus up,” Glunt added.

Pearce missed the back-end, but the clock harmlessly ran down.

Moments after the game ended, the Rams celebrated, joining their classmates as they spilled onto the Rec Hall floor.

Cameras flashed, as what was at first an an ugly start turned into quite the pretty picture for Penns Valley.