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Sunday, Sep. 21, 2014

Bell City wins battle between top small school teams

Sunday, February 9, 2003

(Photo)
Bell City's Eric Henry drives around Oran's Ryne Wood.
ORAN -- Bell City won the highly-anticipated rematch between Southeast Missouri's top small schools on Friday night, beating Oran on the road, 86-78.

With the victory, the Cubs all but lock up the top seed for the upcoming Class 1, District 2 Tournament.

"Oran has a really good team," said Bell City head coach David Heeb. "We've never beaten them here...not as long as I've been coaching. Certainly, this is a good win for us. With the way (the district) is set up this year, one of us was going to get the one (seed) and the other was going to get the two. Tonight was the tiebreaker. We were fortunate to win."

Bell City used a 30-point offensive explosion in the second quarter to pull away, then held off a strong Oran rally in the second half to preserve the victory.

Four of the Cubs' players finished in double figures. Eric Henry led with 25 points, followed by Dominitrix Johnson with 21, Kenyon Wright with 18 and Ben Duncan with 10.

"We got outplayed by a team that's better than us tonight," said Oran head coach Mitch Wood. "We've got to decide if we're going to get better for the district tournament or not."

The loss snapped a 10-game winning streak the Eagles brought into the game.

Oran opened on a 6-0 run, only to see Bell City score seven unanswered points. Both sides battled back and fourth the rest of the period, with the Eagles ending the frame with a 15-12 advantage.

Henry opened the second period with a 3-pointer, setting the tone for a big quarter by the Cubs.

Bell City outscored the home team 30-11 in the second to take a commanding 42-28 lead at halftime.

"Our bench came in and made some big plays," said Heeb. "Ty Brown and Ben Duncan came up with a couple of loose balls that started it, then Eric Henry and Kenyon Wright finished it with the three. That run was critical in the game."

At the break, Nathan Seyer had scored 16 of Oran's 28 points. He led the Eagles with 21 overall, but missed a good portion of the second half due to foul trouble.

He eventually fouled out with four minutes remaining, later followed by a Patrick Friga foul out.

"Day in and day out, we've seen so many officials," said Wood. "Sometimes you've got to adjust, and right now we're not adjusting to the play that's being made. Tonight I had two of my best players with three and four fouls all night long. They've got to decide whether they're going to play good defense or silly defense. They played silly at times tonight."

Oran got back into the game in the third quarter as Matt Seyer and Ryne Wood hit three treys, and Friga sank 8-of-9 free throws. The trio cut Bell City's lead to five points heading into the fourth quarter.

The Eagles got as close as three points with 6:10 remaining after a 3-pointer from Matt Seyer, but could get no closer. "I thought we played hard on defense," said Heeb. "We didn't always play good, but we played hard. If we can get harder to score on, we're going to be tough to beat."

Bell City (17-3) has another tough test up on Tuesday when they play host to Dexter. Oran (16-5) will also have a handful on Tuesday, traveling to Sikeston.

"We have to worry about getting better at some stuff, and not worry so much about winning the next couple of games," said Wood.