The Cubs showed great tenacity on the boards early and outrebounded the Hornets 23-6 in the first half. Led by 5-foot-11 sophomore Nick Niemczyk and 6-10 junior Will Bogan, the Cubs raced out to a 46-31 lead at halftime.
Niemczyk had 15 points and five rebounds while Bogan also enjoyed a nice first half with nine points and seven rebounds.
"They killed us on the boards tonight," said Advance head coach Joe Shoemaker. "We talked in practice about winning the rebounding battle and we come out tonight and get demolished."
Heading into halftime, Bell City head coach Brian Brandtner wasn't pleased with the defensive effort, until he learned of the rebounding disparity.
"I was all set to let the kids have it for poor defense when I learned that we led 23-6 in rebounding and that just put a smile on my face," said Brandtner. "I was very impressed with our rebounding margin."
Advance stayed close in the first quarter, only getting outscored 20-15 after the quarter. The second quarter proved to be the demise of the Hornets as Bell City went on a 11-0 run to start the quarter. Advance finally scored in the second quarter with 4:46 left and down 31-15.
Besides being outrebounded by 17 in the first half, Advance committed 11 turnovers in the half. Free throw shooting kept Advance in the game, as the Hornets went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe in the first half.
Bell City started fast out of the half and went on an 8-0 run to lead 56-34 with 5:15 left in the third quarter. The Hornets could not recover from their slow start in the third quarter and trailed 73-45 heading into the final quarter, after a last second 3-pointer was nailed by 6-0 sophomore Phillip Gross.
Advance made a push late in the game and outscored the Cubs 21-10 in the fourth quarter. However, the Hornets made up most of the deficit when the Cub starters were on the bench.
"This was a huge conference win for us tonight," said Brandtner. "Advance is a great team and this win will affect the upcoming Christmas tournament seedings and down the road, and the conference tournament seeding."
Shoemaker understands that Bell City is a good team but he was disappointed in the way his team performed.
"Bell City shot the ball well tonight," said Shoemaker. "They played more aggressively tonight and we did not match their intensity. We have a lot of work to do in practice and the first thing we will work on is rebounding."
Bell City played a great game with an inside-outside game that Advance could not control.
"We run a motion offense with a high and low post player," said Brandtner. "Our bread and butter is to get the basketball down low, no matter who is down in the post. Once our post players received the ball, they did a nice job of finding the open shooter."
Niemczyk led the Cubs in scoring with 20 points and also pulled down five rebounds. Bogan had a double-double scoring 13 points and led Bell City with 11 rebounds.
Senior Jeff Liggins, a 6-2 forward for the Cubs, scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Kerry Lasters scored 10 points and led the Cubs in assists with four. Gross had a monster game on the glass for Bell City, as he pulled down 10 rebounds off the bench and scored nine points.
Bell City had 47 rebounds in the game and committed 27 turnovers, while Advance had 34 rebounds in the game and committed 23 turnovers.
Alex Steil, James Masters and Josh Bailey all had 12 points to lead the Hornets in scoring. Trenton Moses and Daryl Wade were the other double-digit scorers for Advance as they had 11 and 10 points respectfully.
Masters had nine rebounds to lead the Hornets and Reed had four assists to lead the team.
Advance won the junior varsity contest 58-48 over Bell City.
Advance (2-2) will be at home on Friday as they will entertain the Puxico Indians, with the junior varsity game beginning at 6 p.m.
Bell City (4-1) will compete in the Perryville Shootout on Saturday and will face Class 5 Vianney at 12:40 p.m.