Bellefonte and Central Mountain meet up in season opener
Dec 2, 2022

By Kenny Varner

BELLEFONTE – Opening night battle at Bellefonte.

In a rematch from last year’s District 6 championship contest, Bellefonte and Central Mountain renewed acquaintances in the season opener for both teams.

Bellefonte opened with some new faces and young starters while Central Mountain came in with a veteran laden crew.

It would be the veterans that would get the best of the up and coming Red Raiders, winning 72-51.

Leading the way for the Wildcats was Jack Hanna who netted 19.

Teammate Hayden Pardoe followed with an 18-point performance and pulled down seven boards.

Hunter Hoy just missed a double-double scoring 14 points and collecting eight rebounds.

Rounding out the double-digit scorers was Essex Taylor who finished with 10.

Bellefonte Alex Ebeling posted a double-double with a 13-point and 10-rebound performance.

Leading the Raiders on the night was  Derek Cox with 17 points.

The threes were flying on the night as both teams combined for 15 triples.

The Wildcats got out to a first quarter lead and was able to hold off the fiesty Raiders with its Ariel attack and it’s tough inside defensive game, fending off Bellefonte runs throughout.

“Yes but We weren’t happy with the ones we gave up though,” said Central Mountain coach Tyler Bardo when asked if he was happy with his team’s three-point success. “We have to correct that on the weak side help in rotations. I thought we got a little bit lazy with our hands up on that but we know we can score the basketball. It’s just a matter of keeping the other teams from doing it.”

Things were back and forth early on, as the Wildcats started off on a 5-0 run on a drive in the paint by Hanna followed by a triple by Pardoe. Pardoe finished with two triples on the night.

Back came Bellefonte as they erased the Central Mountain lead on a 5-0 run of its own.

Starting off the scoring for the Red Raiders were a triple by Luke Fisher and then a lay in by Cox, tying it at five.

On the following possession, Hanna spotted up for a triple, extending g the Wildcats’ lead back to three.

But the lead wouldn’t last long as Jacob McConnell set up and launched a triple of his own, knotting the game once again with 5:20 left in the opening period.

“I’m happy with it. To be honest, I only have one returning varsity player and that’s Alex Ebeling. When you look across the roster there is very little varsity experience,” said Bellefonte coach Rick Hall. “I told them that I was proud of them and they fought. They played hard the whole game. We just got manhandled on the board because of their size. Everything we did wrong tonight is fixable.”

Central Mountain stepped up its defense to go on a 7-0 run to increase its lead to seven. Highlighting the run was another triple by Hanna, an inside contested shot by Levi Schlesinger and a steal and a bucket by Taylor, putting the Central Mountain lead at 15-8.

Bellefonte cut things to five with 3:31 left in the first.

The two would keep the quick pace it  set, Central Mountain found itself leading 22-16 going into the second stanza.

In the second quarter, the Wildcats continued to extend their lead outscoring Bellefonte 16-8, taking a 38-24 advantage into the intermission.

Leading the scoring for Central Mountain the period was Hoy with eight points.

Bellefonte was led by Ebeling and Cox who both hit a triple in the stanza.

Both team’s came out of the half ready to go back to battle.

Central Mountain was able to just outscore Bellefonte in the period by just a 16-13 margin.

But it was good enough to add to its lead going into fourth leading 54-37.

There was no let up on each squad as both teams battled to the very end despite the Central Mountain advantage.

In the end, the Wildcats took home the victory 72-51 in a high scoring opening contest.

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