By Kenny Varner
PHILIPSBURG – Monday night the Bellefonte and Philipsburg-Osceola’s boys basketball teams met up in an instant Mountain League classic battle.
The game would go down to the final minutes but the Bellefonte defense would put a strangle hold on their end of the court, resulting in a 58-49 hard fought victory.
Senior center Cole Crissman came up huge in the final stanza posting nine points, three triples to help secure the comeback victory for the Red Raiders. Crissman finished with a double-double finishing with 18 points and 15 boards and was also able to avoid getting into foul trouble. Teammate Jacob McConnell also post an 18-point performance. Derek Cox rounded out the double-digit scorers for Bellefonte, finishing with 14.
Philipsburg-Osceola’s Jacob DeSimone paced his team as he finished with a game-high 21 points.
Teammate Nick Johnson added 10.
“We thought coming into this year if we could get everybody on the same page that we could be a pretty good team,” said Bellefonte coach Rick Hall when asked about his team’s total team effort. “I also think they didn’t lose their composure. We had a rough first quarter and they held their composure. We talked at halftime and our defense stood out again”
The Red Raiders defense allowed only 23 points in the second half helping in the comeback.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Red Raiders led 37-32.
Philipsburg-Osceola quickly went on a 7-0 run to get the quarter underway.
DeSimone got the quarter going as he hit a triple from beyond the arc cutting it to a 37-35 contest.
After forcing a turnover the Mounties tired the contest when Oliver Harpster hit a jumper at the six minute mark.
Again, Philipsburg-Osceola forced a second turnover, resulting in a Luca Peterson hit a tough runner in the lane, putting his team up by two.
But Bellefonte ended the run, McConnell’s bucket ended the early Mountie momentum.
DeSimone hit another jumper to take back the lead at 5:30.
But then the Bellefonte defense took over.
On the Red Raiders next possession, Crissman went out behind the 3-point line and hit nothing but net to put his team back in the lead 42-41 with 3:48 left.
Bellefonte forced another turnover to try to increase its lead. They worked the ball around the key and got it to McConnell and he did not disappoint after being fouled and going to the foul line for a one-on-one situation.
He was a perfect 2-for-2, increasing the lead to three.
On the Mounties next possession, the Red Raiders defense sent PO back empty handed. They were able to find Crissman alone outside the arc open and he sent his second consecutive three point shot through the net, making it a 47-41 lead.
But the Mounties refused to go away as they battled to go on another late run.
They hit their next two shots, closing things to within striking distance at 47-45.
Back came the Red Raiders once again as Cox gave his team some breathing room hitting 2-of-2 from the foul line.
On the next possession, PO cut it back to a 2-point contest when Johnson, who finished with 10 rebounds, pulled down a rebound and sent it back up for two.
But the Red Raiders would get hot late marching to a 7-0 run to extend its lead to 56-47.
In the run, Crissman popped his third triple in the period, Cox and McConnell added two points each.
That would be too much for the Mounties as they ran out of time, falling by nine.
Philipsburg-Osceola led things after one quarter as they posted a 16-9 first quarter start.
Bellefonte battled back in the second, slightly outscoring the Mounties 12-10.
The highlight of the first half came from DeSimone as he hit a 3/4 court launch at the buzzer, making it a 26-21 PO lead at the half.
Bellefonte battled its way back into the game in the third as its defense held Philipsburg to only six points, putting them into the lead going into the fourth.
In the JV contest, the Raiders took the contest, 42-37.
Bellefonte 58, Philipsburg-Osceola 49
BE 9 12 16 21 – 58
PO 16 10 6 17 – 49
Scoring: Bellefonte – Luke Fisher 2 0-1 4, Alex Ebeling 1 2-3 4, Jacob McConnell 6 6-10 18, Cole Crissman 7 0-0 18, Derek Cox 4 4-4 14. Totals 20 12-18 58. PO – Oliver Harpster 3 0-0 7, Lucas Peterson 2 0-0 5, Nick Johnson 5 0-2 10, Zack Myers 1 0-0 2, Jacob DeSimone 9 0-0 21, Camden Mason 2 0-0 4. Totals 22 0-2 49.
Played but didn’t score: Bellefonte – Liam Halterman 0 0-0 0, Jacob Corman 0 0-0 0, Ryder Hamilton 0 0-0 0. PO – Parker Lamb 0 0-0 0, Brandon Hahn 0 0-0 0.
Three-point shots: Bellefonte – Crissman 4, Cox 2. PO – Harpster, Peterson, DeSimone 3.