Midland knocks off Bell City

BELL CITY – Who’s No. 1 in District 7-B - and perhaps in Class B - got answered Tuesday.

For now, any way.

The Midland Rebels (20-2, 1-0) forced 12 first-half turnovers, jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in beating Bell City, the top-ranked team in the Class B power ratings, 55-38.

“We had some bad turnovers in the first half and their defensive pressure on the perimeter gave us a lot of trouble,” said Bell City coach Jason Leonards, whose team fell to 19-3 overall and 0-1 in league play with the loss. “They (Midland) were a lot more physical than us and a lot more aggressive.

“We just didn’t match their intensity on the defensive end. We had to do some things defensively that we’re not comfortable doing.”

Midland’s defense forced six turnovers in the opening frame and allowed the Rebels to stake a 15-6 lead.

The Rebels’ picked up four steals and forced two more turnovers on errant passes in the second quarter. That, along with 10 points in the paint from Alan Vondenstein and Darren Arceneaux, enabled the Rebels to jump out to a 27-16 halftime lead.

“We played hard tonight,” said Midland coach Todd Briley. “We guarded pretty good. We still made some mistakes though. I’d like to see us rebound a little better and run the lanes better. But the kids did a good job.”

Bell City got out to a quick start in the second half and went on an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 29-24 with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

“We had a few stretches in the game where we beat them and then we gave them a chance to get back in the game,” said Briley. “We just kind of went nuts a few times where we didn’t take care of the ball or took bad shots and had some turnovers. We just lost our composure a little bit.”

But just as soon as Bell City got back in the game, Jake Gautreaux took the Bruins right out of it.

The hot shooting guard buried back-to-back 3-points to push the lead to 12 (37-25). Cody Stutes and Vondenstein each added a bucket in the lane and the Rebels took a 41-26 advantage heading into the final stanza.

“Those two 3-pointers by Jake were huge,” said Briley. “Those were two big shots. That kind of changed the momentum.”

Vondenstein added four more of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter and Midland connected on six of their eight free throw attempts in the final eight minutes as they outscored the Bruins 14-12.

“Alan played well tonight,” said Briley. “He had a good game. The first time we played them, he had a big game. He’s getting better and that’s what we need.”

Gautreaux also hit double figures on the night with 12 points whiles Stutes came off the bench and gave the Rebels six points.

Andrew Hains added five points despite seeing limited action due to foul trouble. Chase Vincent and Arceneaux each had four points and Michael Primeaux scored two.

Josh Jagneaux paced the Bruins with 11 points. Kendall Gary followed with eight points and Lantz Monk had seven. Ethan Poole and Hunter Wilson added five points each and Travis Thibeaux finished with two.

Lady Bruins 61

Lady Rebels 40

Bell City used a staggering full court press to build an early 41-15 lead and the Lady Rebels were never able to recover Tuesday evening in the District 7-B opener for both teams.

The Lady Bruins took a 14-4 lead in the first quarter and broke the game open in the second by outscoring the Lady Rebels 27-11.

Kristen Breaux hit the Lady Rebels’ only shot from the floor in the second quarter; Midland’s nine other points came from the free throw line.

Bell City outscored Midland 15-8 in the third quarter but the Lady Rebels closed out the game on a 17-5 run over the final eight minutes.

Midland struggled offensively all night. The Lady Rebels committed 24 turnovers on the night and hit just 10 shots from the floor. Their other 20 points came from the charity stripe as they connected on 20 of their 29 free throw attempts.

Elizabeth Istre and Bethany LeJeune led Midland with nine and seven points, respectively. Maci Premo added five points; Kristen Breaux had four; Haley Guidry and Melody Hebert each had three; Tori Craigen, Callie Duhon, Brooke Comeaux and Brittney Perrodin each had two and Nicole Kraut had one.

Shelby Landry led a trio of Lady Bruins in double figures with 15 points. Kimberly Breaux added 11 and Josie Crochet had 10.

Midland returns to action on Friday when both the Rebels and Lady Rebels travel to Lacassine for another district contest. The girls’ game is slated for 6 p.m. with the boys’ game to follow.

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