BELMONT – Six different players scored for Belmont during a 14–2 second-half surge that thrust the host Braves to a 53–39 non-conference victory over the Juda Panthers in boys' basketball action at BHS on Tuesday, Dec. 30.
The Braves will take a three-game winning streak into the new year after pulling away from the Panthers over the final 13 minutes of the second half to improve to 6–2 on the season. Juda dropped to 3–6.
A 3-pointer by sophomore Skyler Stuckey brought the Panthers within a point of the hosts at 31–30 with just over five minutes to play in the third quarter, but the Braves closed the quarter on a 12–2 run to open up an 11-point cushion and then scored the first two points of the fourth quarter at the free throw line to extend their lead to 45–32.
Juda senior Cory Segner scored a layup to halt a 9–0 Belmont run and get the Panthers within 11 on the scoreboard, but they would get no closer as the Braves rolled on to earn their third straight victory over the Panthers and their third consecutive win overall.
“We’ve had a problem not putting a full game together yet,” said Belmont head coach Dave Michalkiewicz. “We may be 6–2, but I don’t think we’ve played four good quarters consecutively this season. It’s just something we’ve got to figure out. Tonight we were lucky enough to turn it on in the second half to pull away.”
Early on, the Panthers were giving the Braves all they could handle behind the offensive prowess of sophomore Matt Schmitt, who scored eight points in the first quarter to lead the guests out to a 15–12 lead and added six more of his game-high 19 points in the second quarter to keep his team right on Belmont’s heels.
“They have a good group of players, especially young kids,” said Michalkiewicz about the Panthers. “They’re going to be very difficult to deal with going forward. They played very hard.”
Belmont’s junior guard Lane Kamps tallied eight of his 15 points in the opening quarter to keep the Braves close, while junior forward Raine Voights chipped in with 10 of his team-high 17 points in the opening half to help the hosts build a 25–23 halftime lead.
After seeing the lead swapped hands nine times in the first half and having Juda tie the score at 25–25 on a basket by sophomore Joe Rackow to start the third quarter, the Braves took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Voigts and then outscored the Panthers 15–7 during the remainder of the stanza to open up a 43–32 lead.
Voigts scored five points in the third quarter, while junior Jon Bahr and Kamps each added four points. Junior Quinn Cushman sank a 3-pointer and junior Cole Johnson netted another basket for the Braves in the quarter, while Kamps and junior Josh Logsdon each sank a free throw early in the fourth quarter to aid the 14–2 scoring run.
“Our guys are pretty unselfish. They share the ball well,” noted Michalkiwicz. “We have a number of guys who can hit a shot and can score for us. It makes us hard to defend against.”
Kamps finished with 15 points and Bahr added 13 points for the Braves.
Stuckey scored seven points of his nine points in the third quarter, while Schmitt tallied five points in the fourth frame for the Panthers.
Belmont hosts Benton in a Six Rivers West affair on Friday, Jan. 9.
Belmont 53, Juda 39
(from Tuesday, Dec. 30 @ Belmont
Juda 15 8 9 7 — 39
Belmont 12 13 18 10 — 53
Juda (3–6) — Schmitt 19, Stuckey 9, Segner 4, Rackow 4, Haffele 3. Totals — 15 8-13 39.
Belmont (6–2) — Raine Voigts 17, Lane Kamps 15, Jon Bahr 13, Quinn Cushman 3, Lucas Haag 2, Cole Johnson 2, Josh Logsdon 1. Totals — 19 11-16 53.
3-point goals — J: 3 (Schmitt 1, Stuckey 1, Haffele 1): B: 4 (Voigts 1, Kamps 1, Bahr 1, Cushman 1). Team fouls — J: 11, B: 12. Fouled out — B: Logsdon.