Three games in three days is a big task for any varsity boys basketball team and coaching staff to take on, but that’s what Mexico, Riverview Gardens, Springfield Glendale and Fort Zumwalt all agreed to endure last weekend by participating in the Tyronn Lue Championship Classic at the Bulldogs.
For Mexico and FZS, that experience came to a close in the final game of this three-day round robin Saturday afternoon. One factor that both teams had to suffer through was physical wear and tear, and despite having the home court advantage, because of the injuries suffered by Cameron Holman and Matthew Huffman, it’s probably safe to say that issue affected the Bulldogs just a little bit more.
Combine that with the 32 points scored by EJ Bellinger and FZS was just too much for Mexico over the course of four quarters, winning 70-51.
The first quarter was as even as it gets and began for the Bulldogs with a field goal and a three pointer by Tyler Spargo, who charted a team-high 19 points for the contest. JaSean White then hit a field goal to tie the game at 7-7 at 1:51 prior to Avion Williams posting Mexico’s final basket of the session, only to see FZS’s Darious Thomas knock down one final hoop with :21.3 left on the clock to send the game into the second quarter in a deadlock.
The next stanza was a very different affair that wrapped up with FZS leading 32-24 before Bellinger scored a quick five to start the third to widen his teams’ advantage to 37-26 at 6:28. Even though Huffman did slightly stem that tide with a score of his own for the Bulldogs, FZS once again pulled away even further to 41-26 at 5:55 and 46-31 at 3:24, and it would’ve been worse had Vern Williams and Spargo not teamed up to score five.
Once Bellinger racked up the last of his 14 points for the quarter, Spargo hit a triple and Aubrey Carter drained a field goal to put FZS up 57-38 heading into the fourth. Mexico did have its moments after that, including Huffman and Jai Lawson making two free throws each at 7:21 and 6:04, but it was mostly back-and forth after that. This allowed Quinton Baumgartner to score two for the Bulldogs and Taylor Bledose added four points, the last two of which came from the charity stripe at :09.3.
Mexico, 8-6 overall, next plays Macon on Jan. 15 in the opening round of its tournament.