By Kenny Varner
BELLEFONTE – The Bellefonte boys basketball team cleared one of its goals Friday as it finished the 2023 Campaign undefeated in Centre County action.
But it would be quite a battle as the Red Raiders would overcome a first half deficit to defeat a very tough Philipsburg-Osceola team, 50-38.
Cole Crissman led the second-half surge with a 15-point performance. He also had four boards in the win.
Posting some clutch minutes in the final stanza for the Red Raiders were Derek Cox and Jacob Corman.
Cox posted eight 4th quarter points while Corman pulled down some clutch rebounds and went 2-for-2 from the foul line.
Philipsburg-Osceola got a gutsy effort from sharpshooter Oliver Harpster who finished with a game-high 20 points.
“Well I just said..Number one, we just had a poor first half. That’s been kind of our mojo at times. How do you make up for a poor shooting performance? You got to make it up on defense. And then I turned around at told them at half you’re not hitting your quota. I said 35-40 percent of our scoring has to come from our defense tonight, rebounding, transition and steals. We got that in the second half,” said Bellefonte coach Rick Hall after being asked what he said to his team at the half to turn things around. “We got a couple more of those in the second half l. I think two things won the game for us. Is that our 3-point shooting in the third quarter and our bench. Philipsburg played a real good game. They’re a good team. I think we wore them out. We played 10 players tonight. The bench came out and gave us some good quality minutes.”
Coming out of the half, the Red Raiders trailed 21-16.
Harpster increased the Mounties lead to seven, opening with a tough drive in the lane.
On the following Red Raiders’ next possession, Crissman drove inside for a bucket.
The Bellefonte defense forced a turnover and got the ball to Crissman from beyond the arc and he hit the triple, quickly cutting the Mounties lead to two at 23-21.
Both team exchanged buckets.
Harpster was fouled and hit 1-of-2 from the line, upping the score to 26-23 with 4:13 left in the quarter.
Bellefonte tied the game at 26 on a triple by Ethan Tomasacci.
But the Mounties took back the lead on the following possession, when Jacob DeSimone hit a long two.
With 40 seconds left in the period, Alex Ebeling dropped a triple, tying the game once again. This time the two were tied at 30.
Defense led the way in the final seconds as Crissman was the recipient, scoring four points in the last 30 seconds, taking the lead for the first time at 34-30
Going into the final stanza, Defense reigned supreme as Bellefonte held PO to eight points.
The Red Raiders were very opportunistic as they pounded out 14 points to win the contest by 12.
In the JV contest, the Red Raiders won 51-16.
Bellefonte will be back in action Tuesday against Tyrone.
Bellefonte 50, Philipsburg-Osceola 38
PO 8 13 9 8 – 38
BE 5 11 18 16- 50
Scoring: Bellefonte – Alex Ebeling 1 2-2 5, Jacob Corman 1 2-2 9, Luke Fisher 3 1-3 8, Dylan Knepp 0 1-2 1, Jacob McConnell 2 0-0 4, Cole Crissman 6 1-2 15, Derek Cox 3 2-2 8, Ethan Tomasacci 2 0-0 6. Totals 18 9-15 50.
PO – Oliver Harpster 9 2-6 20, Lucas Peterson 1 0-0 2, Nick Johnson 3 1-2 8, Jacob DeSimone 2 1-5 6, Brandon Hahn 1 0-1 2. Totals 15 4-14 38.
Played but didn’t score: Bellefonte – Peyton Vancas 0 0-0 0, Ryder Hamilton 0 0-1 0. PO – Camden Mason 0 0-0 0.
Three-Point shots: Bellefonte – Crissman 2, Tomasacci 2, Fisher. PO – Johnson, Ebeling.