GERMANTOWN — It’s a saying attributed to Paul “Bear” Bryant, the late Alabama football coach, but Bellbrook boys varsity basketball coach Donnie Tate has been saying something similar to his players, and they’re listening.
Bear Bryant always said “Defense wins Championships.”
Bellbrook’s defense keyed a big road win for Tate’s Golden Eagles, Friday, Jan. 24 over the host Germantown Valley View Spartans. Bellbrook frustrated Valley View’s offense, and gained confidence along the way, for a solid 46-34 win on the Spartans’ home court.
“We’ve been working on nothing but defense for about a week and a half now, and I think tonight we did a pretty good defensive effort of just sitting down and staying in front of guys, which hasn’t been our strength. So I was really proud of our guys with that effort,” Tate said.
A 3-pointer by Valley View’s Tanner Tobias put his team out in front, 23-22 with not quite two minutes gone in the second half, but Bellbrook’s sticky fly paper defense held the Spartans scoreless for the next six minutes.
The Golden Eagles (7-8, 4-4 Southwestern Buckeye League, Southwestern division) went on a 10-0 scoring run during that same time span to take control.
Valley View (8-7, 4-5 SWBL Southwestern) put together a 5-0 run to start the final quarter, pulling the Spartans to within 36-31 with 5:44 left to play, but they wouldn’t get any closer.
“We try tell them about defense all the time,” Tate said. “It always starts with defense. There’s more controllables on the defensive end than there are on the offensive end. You build your energy on the defensive end, and then let that transfer over to the offensive end.”
And while Valley View’s defense concentrated on limited Bellbrook’s leading scorer (Ryan Chew, 14.7 points per game) to six points for the night, Golden Eagles teammates Gabe Pavlak and Ashton Ault scored 16 and 14 points, respectively to lead the team.
“Gabe’s really been struggling with fouling out of games, but he only had two personal fouls tonight. When he’s able to play the minutes we need him to play, we’re a much better team out there,” Tate said. “Ault is a talented sophomore guard who had a nice game for us tonight, too. Chew is our top scorer, and Valley View did their best to take him away, but Ault stepping in and scoring 14 really filled that void for us tonight.”
Valley View’s J.T. Ferguson was the lone Spartan to score in double figures. He had 11.
The Spartans don’t have time to fret over Friday night’s loss. They take on Butler County foe Trenton Edgewood on the road at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night. Jan. 25.
Bellbrook returns home for its next game, a 7:15 p.m. nonleague contest on Tuesday Jan. 28 against Clarksville Clinton-Massie.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.