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December 29, 2012In a NCP Top 20 matchup, Bellarmine held on to its perfect record in a 58-52 win over Monte Vista. The Bells look to continue the momentum into West Catholic Athletic League play on Wednesday.
Bellarmine started the game strong and led 21-12 after the first quarter, but Monte Vista came back as the Bells took a slim 25-24 advantage into the half. Monte Vista took its first lead of the game with 1:05 left in the third quarter, but trailed 43-40 headed into the fourth quarter.
The Bells led throughout the entire fourth quarter, although the Mustangs cut the lead to 54-52 late in the contest. Bellarmine did not allow a point after that mark and hit four free throws en route to a victory.
"I thought we did a really steady job with our offensive execution, which was a key item for us going into the game with an injured starting point guard in Blair Mendy," said Bellarmine head coach Patrick Schneider. "When he sat out against Soquel we were a little out of sorts and I thought the guys learned from that experience and I thought we were much more dependable and reliable on offense against a team that did a lot of different things defensively. It forced all our players, especially our point guards, to recognize and read and attack what was provided. I was really proud of how our guys did that."
Navy signee Grant Vermeer led the Bells with 18 points along with four steals. He showcased a nice jump shot as he was 2-of-3 from behind the arc. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard also slashed to the basket for some buckets and was a good all around scorer.
"[Vermeer] had 35 and 30 [points] last week so it's like he had an off day," Schneider joked. "But what I was really impressed with and pleased with was the shots he took were good shots and the shots that he passed up were shots that needed to be moved along and other guys stepped up. Jack O'Hara had a lot of nice buckets along with Isaac Gayles and Danny Schatzman. We had other guys benefiting from all of the attention that [Vermeer] received."
For Monte Vista, juniors Trevor John and Spencer Rust led the way. John had 16 points and nine rebounds while Rust had 13 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks. John is a savvy guard who is a nice shooter and moves well without the ball in his hands. If he could develop some point guard skills his stock could soar. Rust is a lanky post who affected the game in multiple areas.
The Mustangs suffered only their second loss and fell to 8-2 to wrap up the preseason. They will face California on Wednesday to start East Bay Athletic League play. Monte Vista looks to be the top team to give a run at De La Salle for the EBAL title.
Bellarmine finished preseason play undefeated at 10-0 and will now look towards WCAL play. The Bells will kick off league play with the WCAL favorites, Mitty, at home on Wednesday.
"Of course we'd love to fast forward with another 14 wins, but we know teams like Monte Vista, McClymonds, and El Camino really prepared us well for what's ahead," Schneider finished. "Hopefully we're able to defend a little bit better and be a little bit stronger with the ball as we go into a fun and fierce league."