DuBOIS — Although the DuBois boys basketball team has had a positive start to the season in most facets, the Beavers still have a strange way of seeing big leads disappear.
DuBois had a 13-point lead on Bellefonte at halftime on Thursday evening, only to see the Red Raiders tie the game in the third quarter and even momentarily took the lead.
However, DuBois outscored the Raiders, 13-7, in the final quarter to edge Bellefonte, 51-45, at DuBois Area High School.
Just last week, DuBois (4-2) saw a 19-point lead in the first half wiped away by Brockway in a 63-60 loss. The Beavers also had two close wins to start the season against Clarion and St. Marys.
“I can’t attribute it to anything other than lack of experience because an experienced team would slam the door and put them away,” said DuBois coach Scott Creighton of his team blowing leads. “These guys are still learning on-the-job training basically. I certainly would rather have to go through these tribulations with a win as opposed to the other.
“We have to look at the bright side, but at the same time, the guys said this in the locker room. They know, ‘Hey, we still have a lot of work to do and we have to get some things figured out.’
“Luck, if there is such a thing, is going to run out pretty soon if we continue to play like that. Our kids did play hard, so I definitely think that helps us become a little more lucky.”
Bellefonte is now 0-5 on the season, including losing the last four by nine points or less.
DuBois’ Justin Manduley got the Beavers going with a three-pointer to give his team the lead before Alex Beers’ trey from the point gave DuBois an early 8-2 lead two minutes into the game.
After staying at 8-2 for the next three minutes, Manduley poured in another three from the corner and had a putback before Kenny Garvey’s layup off a turnover forced the Raiders to call a timeout with DuBois up 15-4 with 1:48 to play in the first quarter.
Jonathan Cruz hit a three-pointer on the quarter’s final possession to put DuBois up 20-8 at the end of the first.
The Beavers built the lead to as much as 16 points after a Cruz layup with under a minute to play.
However, Bellefonte’s Ben McCartney was fouled on a bucket underneath the hoop, and converted the free throw to get the score to 29-16 at halftime.
After trading a bucket each to start the second half, Cruz hit another trey to get the game to 34-18 with 5:35 left.
But from there, the Raiders put together an 18-2 run in just under five minutes of play to tie the game. McCartney, who had 15 points in the third, knotted the game at 36 on a three from the point.
Bellefonte’s Caleb Rockey sunk a pair of free throws to give Bellefonte a lead in the final minute, but didn’t last long as Manduley’s layin tied the game at the end of the third quarter at 38.
At 40-40 in the fourth quarter, Chase Husted’s free throw gave DuBois the lead for good.
Alex Beers then made a corner three before McCartney answered with a three from the corner of his own with 4:38 to play.
After a Husted putback to make it a three-point game again, the two teams went on a two-minute drought. Garvey broke the drought with a layin to give DuBois a 48-43 lead with 1:15 to play.
At 48-45, Garvey picked up a rebound and was fouled with 10 seconds left. He sunk both free throws to put the game away.
Husted added one more free throw with two seconds left, giving him a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds for the night.
“I think we outplayed them as far as hustle and effort goes the majority of the time, so I felt like that was maybe one of the positives that came out of it that allowed us to maintain that lead in the end,” said Creighton. “And I thought we rebounded our missed shots pretty well at the end, too.”
Manduley led the way with 12 points for DuBois, while Husted, Cruz, and Beers all had 10 points apiece.
McCartney had 25 points to lead Bellefonte, while Rockey chipped in 13.
DuBois is now off for a full week and will step on the court again in their own holiday tournament on Dec. 29 and 30.
The Beavers will play Brockway at 7:30 p.m. in the first round. Brookville and DuBois Central Catholic will play in the other first-round game in the tournament.