Cubs win district

Friday, March 4, 2005

Bell City rallied past Delta 81-77 to win its fourth straight title. ~ Southeast Missourian

Bell City's chances at winning a second straight Class 1 boys basketball state championship looked to be in serious trouble Thursday night in the District 2 finals at Delta High School.

Facing a fired up host squad, the Cubs had to use a Kerry Lasters drive with 1:30 remaining to finally gain control. When the final buzzer had sounded, Bell City fans breathed a sigh of relief, as the Cubs held on for a 81-77 victory.

The Cubs (19-6) clinched their fourth straight district title and will play at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday in the sectional round at Sikeston.

"Four years in a row, and we've had a pretty good record at this time," Heeb said, referring to Bell City's two state championships in three years.

The top-seeded Cubs got all they could handle from No. 2 Delta, which led through almost the entire first half and held a 71-70 lead with 1:49 remaining in the game.

"They played a heck of a ball game," Heeb said of Delta, which ended its season at 14-13. "Every time we had a chance to bury them someone made a big shot."

Bell City led by as many as eight points early in the fourth quarter, but Delta senior Brent Menz kept the Bobcats in the game. Menz, playing on a badly injured ankle that he hurt in the first half, scored 12 points in the final period.

Menz finished with 23 points -- 18 coming in the second half. Delta also got a big game from senior Cody Crowden, who finished with 22 points.

"That tells a lot about those seniors," Delta coach Shawn Kinder said. "All of them have great character."

While the Bobcats relied heavily on three senior starters, Bell City was carried by its youth.

The Cubs played four freshmen in big roles and saw the foursome finished with 47 points: D.D. Gillespie led the Cubs with 21 points; Nick Niemczyk added 16 points; Marty Dames finished with seven points before fouling out; and Phillip Gross added two points.

"They've really helped us," Heeb said.

Delta led 8-0 early, holding Bell City scoreless for more than four minutes at the start of the game. The Bobcats led by as many as 10 points early in the second quarter and settled for a 36-34 lead at halftime.

"We led much of the game. I didn't think we executed when we needed to in certain situations," Kinder said.

Bell City 81, Delta 77

Bell City8262720--81

DELTA (77) -- Brent Menz 23, Cody Crowden 22, Aaron Kinder 16, Kevin Bartels 10, A.J. Horn 4, Dustin Anglin 2. FG 23, FT 25-31, F 22 (3-pointers: Crowden 3, Menz 3. Fouled out: Terrence Below, Menz)

BELL CITY (81) -- D.D. Gillespie 21, Nick Niemczyk 16, Marty Dames 7, Jeff Liggins 12, Kerry Lasters 9, Garrett McIntyre 4, Phillip Gross 2, Austin Segers 8. FG 30, FT 18-30, F 21 (3-pointers: Gillespie 1, Niemczyk 2. Fouled out: Dames)

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