BELMONT — The first half hole they fell into was too deep for the Belmont boys’ basketball team to crawl out of last Friday night as the Braves opened the second half of the Six Rivers West season by falling to Benton by a score of 52-41.
The Zephyrs (11-4, 4-2) took care of business on both ends of the court in the first half as they went off for 32 points over the opening 18 minutes of the game while holding the Braves (6-10, 1-6) to just six points to build up a 24-point halftime advantage.
Junior Rex Blaine sank three 3-pointers on his way to 15 points in the first half, while fellow juniors Chad Haffele and Nate Lawrence chipped in with eight and seven points, respectively, in the opening half for Benton.
Belmont found its shooting touch in the second half but was unable to cut into Benton’s comfortable lead as Blaine and Haffele each added six more points to keep the Braves at bay.
Senior Waylon Palzkill scored 21 of his game-high 23 points in the second half in an effort to rally the Braves. After getting shutout in the first half, guards Ty Palzkill (five points), Carter Kettler (five) and Tyler Simmons (four) combined to net 14 points for Belmont in the second half, but the comeback fell a bit short.
Blaine finished with five 3s and a team-high 21 points, while Haffele swished three treys on the way to 14 points. Lawrence added 11 for the guests.
At Soldiers Grove, on Monday, Jan. 24, the host North Crawford Trojans improved to 11-3 overall on the season after holding off the visiting Braves, 44-41, in a non-conference clash.
The Braves have had success with their last-second 3-point shots this season, but it wasn’t meant to be on Monday evening as their game-tying 3-point attempt with 1.6 seconds remaining was off the mark.
Belmont held a 27-13 lead at the half, but were held to just 14 points– on seven field goals– in the second half.
After sinking just one trey in the first half, the Trojans buried seven 3-balls in the second half to rally past the Braves. Andrew Munson sank three 3s and scored all 11 of his points in the second half, while Stephen Munson added eight of his team-high 14 points in the second half as well.
Waylon Palzkill finished the night with a game-high 23 points to lead Belmont. Tyler Simmons scored nine and Ty Palzill added eight for the Braves.
Next up, Belmont has SRW games scheduled at Cassville on Thursday, Jan. 27, and at home against Highland on Tuesday, Feb. 1.
Benton……… 32 20 – 52
Belmont……. 6 35 – 41
Benton– Chad Haffele 14, Lucas Jansen 2, Nate Lawrence 11, Nathan Keleher 2, Payton Calvert 2, Rex Blaine 21. Totals – 20 4-6 52.
Belmont – Ty Palzkill 5, Gavin Austin 2, Carter Kettler 5, Tyler Simmons 4, Waylon Palzkill 23, Casin Carey 2. Totals – 18 2-2 41.
3-point goals– BEN 8 (Haffele 3, R. Blaine 5), BEL 3 (T. Palzkill 1, Kettler 1, W. Palzkill 1). Total fouls– BEN 6, BEL 11. Fouled out– BEL: Simmons.
Belmont………. 27 14 – 41
No. Crawford… 13 31 – 44
Belmont – Ty Palzkill 8, Tyler Simmons 9, Waylon Palzkill 23, Casin Carey 1. Totals – 19 2-4 41.
No. Crawford – S. Munson 14, Bender 3, Halvorsen 4, Elton 3, Jacobus 6, A. Munson 11, Finnell 3. Totals – 15 6-13 44.
3-point goals– B 1 (Simmons 1), NC 8 (Halvorsen 1, Elton 1, Jacobus 2, A. Munson 3, Finnell 1). Total fouls– B 13, NC 9. Fouled out– None.