NE8 foe East Noble beats Braves

Staff Writer

KENDALLVILLE - It could have been a game to revitalize a program, a touchstone to build on.
Instead, a good start was squashed by a great team as Bellmont dropped a 62-41 decision to East Noble in Northeast 8 conference play Saturday.
It was the scenario that Braves coach Jonathon Fuelling dreamed of.
For the first six minutes the Braves were doing just about everything right.
“We were patient offensively. We weren’t forcing anything. We were very good on our help side defense and they missed some shots. We played exactly the way we wanted to.”
It’s the 11th straight win for East Noble and assure at least a share of the conference crown.
Bellmont (10-5, 2-3) built an early 7-2 lead and then expanded it to a 12-6 advantage before the East Noble (13-2, 5-0) swingman Ali Ali knocked down a half-court buzzer beater to cut it to 12-9.
While the basket was worth three points, it meant much more.
Fuelling said his squad and a lot of its will to fight.
“We came to the bench like the world had fallen. We were up three, our goal is to win every quarter. But instead it was ‘woe is me’ I don’t get that,” Fuelling said.
“I don’t know if it was we played so hard and he hits that bank shot. But (we) we were still up three.”
East Noble’s late arriving offense found its touch in the second quarter and was buoyed by the Knights switch to a trap defense. It was a recipe the hosts used to reel off a 16-2 to go up 23-14 with 4:23 to play in the second quarter. It was part of a larger 24-6 second quarter effort. A rally the Braves couldn’t answer.
“I don’t think we played poorly. I think we just missed some open shots,” East Noble coach Ryan Eakins said. “You make shots when you aren’t playing well and you miss shots when you things aren’t all that bad.”
Lucky for the Knights any offense struggles were offset by the efforts of Ali. With early foul trouble sending Brent Cox to the bench and other East Noble shots weren’t dropping, the 6-8 senior reeled off his team’s first 11 points.
“I think (Ali) realized when Brent Cox got in foul trouble, ‘I have to score today,” Eakins explained. “It’s funny how a half-court shot got us going. We were kinda stretched really, really early. We were a little concerned.”
Ali finished with 21 points - including 3-of-4 from behind the arc for East Noble. Bellmont was led by Kade Fuelling had 15 points. Aaron Lehman and Brady Mannis added 10 the Braves.
Bellmont hosts DeKalb Friday.
In the junior varsity game, East Noble outlasted Bellmont 40-33. Spencer Denton of East Noble led all scorers with 15. Nic Ellsworth had nine for the Braves. His teammates, Caden Staub and Broc Hamilton each added seven Brooks Miller also had seven for the Knights.
The Knights won the freshman game 30-21.