On a drizzly Presidents Day evening, the Bellevue Bulldog men convincingly stated their league presence against the visiting Everett Trojans in a 90-73 drubbing.
In front of a nearly full gym, Bellevue in their home whites and Everett in their road reds exchanged lead changes for most of the first half before Bellevue took a commanding half time lead.
Everett, which is 1-13 in divisional play and currently last in the North division, held a 26-22 lead with 8:40 left in the first half. 5’8 Trojan guard Zach Cooper from Arlington, WA, led all scorers with 25. His dangerous quickness and pretty left-handed jump shot provided the only real offensive threat for an Everett team that played far better than their record indicates.
After Trojan timeout with 4:23 remaining in the first half, Bellevue proceeded to rip off a 13-0 run, capped off with a three pointer by Jonathan Humphrie in the left corner as time expired, ending the half with Bellevue ahead 40-31.
The game turned sloppy in the second half; turnovers and free throw shooting played a big role in the Bulldogs victory. Bellevue began trapping the wings in their high 2-3 half-court defense, at times disrupting the Trojan offense, resulting in 22 points off turnovers and easy fast break opportunities for Bellevue.
Despite the effectiveness of Bellevue’s trapping defense, they veered away from it for stretches, falling back into a straight 2-3. This allowed Everett to remain close much of the second half, trailing by only two with 9:48 remaining.
The Trojans 1-2-2 collapsing zone worked well at forcing difficult shots for the Bellevue big men in the first half, but the physicality of Rex Nelson and Keaton Hayenga wore down the Trojan interior defense, creating points in the paint, offensive rebounds and trips to the free throw line. Bellevue made a living at the stripe, shooting 92.9% on 26 of 28 attempts, while Everett only got to the line five times the entire game.
With 5:05 left, Bellevue went on a 13-4 run, stretching their lead to 74-63 and in essence closing the door on any hopes of a Trojan victory. Second chance points and rebounding fueled the run and played an important part in Bellevue’s ability to pull away in a close game. On the night, Bellevue out rebounded Everett 36 to 28 and produced 15 second chance points in comparison to Everett’s four.
With Bellevue ahead 83-70 with 2:46 remaining, Everett began hoisting desperation three pointers that yielded no results. Alec Wilson dribbled out the clock and when the final horn sounded the scoreboard read 90-73.
Bellevue currently sit in third in the north division, one game behind Peninsula and four games behind Whatcom.