By John Baker
The gym at Stuart Hall is so far underground on the compact campus that it has been nicknamed “The Dungeon” by students.
But it was University boys basketball team that trapped Stuart Hall on Wednesday night, defeating the host Knights 61-43 in a Bay Counties League West play to remain tied for first place in the league standings.
“In this league, it’s really tough to win a game on the road,” said University head coach Randal Bessolo. “[Stuart Hall] had good players, size and stretches where they were having their way.”
One such player with size was Stuart Hall’s Andreas Peritos. The 6-foot-5 center hit double digits in rebounds and tallied a game-high 14 points, but University’s defensive duo of Will Carroll and Harold Getz outrebounded Peritos late and held him scoreless in the fourth quarter.
The Red Devils (16-5, 4-1) only led by a point after the first eight minutes, but four three-pointers in the second quarter, including two from Jack Gale, who finished with 12 points, helped University build a 35-17 lead at the halftime break.
“Early in the game, we actually had a chance to go up a few points, then maybe you put a little doubt in the game,” said Stuart Hall coach Charles Johnson. “But when you’re chasing uphill all the time, it gets really difficult.”
Not that the Knights (14-6, 2-3) didn’t try. Stuart Hall got off to a spectacular start in the third quarter. The Knights took advantage of what little space they could get to start the second half off with a crossover layup by Tyler Ryan, who add a three-pointer seconds later after a University turnover. By the midpoint of the quarter, Stuart Hall cut the University lead to 10 points.
Then the Red Devils recovered. University tightened up its defense and slowed down its offense, reducing its turnovers from five in the third quarter to just two in the fourth.
“[Stuart Hall] made adjustments at halftime, which really got them back in the game,” Bessolo said. “We have a lot of seniors, and they reacted and responded really well to everything [Stuart Hall] did. It was just a matter of time until they figured it out and adjusted to their adjustments.”
University senior captain James Burton scored 12 to tie Gale as the Red Devils’ top scorer.
James Burton – 12
Jack Gale – 12
Harold Getz – 10
Will Carroll – 8
Chris Mah – 6
Andreas Peritos – 14
Matt McCrum – 10
Tyler Ryan – 7
Armani Collins – 6
Three players tied with 2 points