The Bellevue Men’s Basketball team were 1-13 heading into their first in-conference game against Peninsula on Jan. 8.
The game was a heated battle from the get-go. Teams traded blows for most of the first half, until Bellevue managed to slowly grind out a 30-20 lead, their largest of the game. Still, Peninsula clawed back into the game over the last several minutes, with a statement dunk by Jaylin Reed putting the exclamation point on the comeback. The first half would end 39-36 in favor of Peninsula.
Peninsula picked up momentum midway through the second half. After the score was deadlocked 52-49 for almost two full minutes of game time, the chips started to fall in Peninsula’s favor. The gap widened, from 54-49 to 56-49 to 58-50 until their lead peaked at 60-50 with just under 10 minutes to go. Bellevue continued to trade buckets, but Peninsula maintained their double-digit lead as the clock wound down. From there, Bellevue clawed back with impressive resolve until the score was 76-74 with 37 seconds on the clock. Bellevue traded fouls for jump shots, but even two clutch three-pointers by freshman Trevon Richmond couldn’t take the victory. In the end, Peninsula won 82-79.
As with most younger teams, it takes time to work out cohesion between the members, and it showed. It constantly felt like the Bellevue squad went back and forth between not taking their teammates’ screens only to get silenced in the paint and almost passing the ball too much, giving up the occasional open shot. The result looked pretty in the stats, as Bellevue finished with both more assists and second chance points than Peninsula, but another notch in the loss column.
Another thing to note was on defense, where seemingly every possession some Peninsula player would find themselves open on the corner for a three-point shot. As a result, they threw up 24 three-point shots throughout the same, making nine of them. Peninsula’s three-point percentage was 10 points better than Bellevue’s. Coach Donald Brady said this was in part due to their gameplan. “We came into the game planning to not guard some guys to focus on a few of their leading scorers,” Brady said, assing that the coaching staff should take credit there and credited the Peninsula players for hitting their shots.
Something Bellevue did really well throughout the game was draw fouls as a team. The Bulldogs coaxed 24 fouls out of Peninsula, and converted that into 20 points via free throw. Seven of those came from freshman guard Trevon Richmond, who added 28 points to an already impressive scoring season. His 24.9 points per game is good for third in the conference, with Wednesday’s performance bumping him up from fourth.
Despite ridiculous scoring numbers, Richmond said he puts his defense first, while on the offense he likes to let it flow and not rush anything.
The three-point margin of defeat was the closest for Bellevue since December 13, and fans should expect the quality of games to continue to improve over time. They have just one sophomore in Tijohn Rodde and as they get to know each other more, success is sure to follow.