By Ivy Keller
The Bellevue Gazette
BELLEVUE— The Redmen had faced Galion in the past, but never in a game quite like this. Bellevue played the Tigers on Saturday, Jan. 23, in an intense, high-stakes game where both teams had something to prove. This year, the Redmen’s head coach was none other than Ed Rich — Galion’s former coach. With that sort of history between the two teams, there was bound to be some friction.
Despite the high stakes, the Redmen had a rough start on the court. The Tigers took the lead from the beginning. After the Redmen made their first two baskets, a three-point shot from Galion’s Colton Moore followed by a bucket from Gavin Ratcliff put the Tigers up 15-4. Bellevue’s Trey Ruhlman and Owen Hartley both followed up with baskets, but they weren’t enough. The Redmen finished up the first quarter at a serious deficit, 8-17.
Hartley opened up the second quarter with a basket, to give the Redmen two of their three points. While the Redmen struggled to sink the ball, Galion had no such trouble. The Tigers put 12 points up on the board to keep their lead.
After two quarters of pure frustration, the Redmen headed to the locker room at halftime with a score of 11-29.
After halftime, something changed for the Redmen.
It might not have beea league game, but it was still a chance for the Redmen to prove themselves — and snap their four-game losing streak.
The Redmen came back with a vengeance after halftime— shutting down the Tigers and taking over the court. A foul from Galion’s Zach Phelps put Ruhlman at the charity stripe to start the quarter, earning Bellevue two points. Galion’s Ratcliff made a bucket of his own, but Bellevue quickly started to catch up.
The Redmen scored 14 more points before the Tigers could make another basket— putting the score at 27-34 in Bellevue’s favor. With less than a minute left in the third quarter, Bellevue’s Jake Waskielis secured a putback and scored to finish the quarter 31-34 for the Redmen.
The Redmen’s comeback was a result of scoring 20 points in the third quarter alone — with senior Kyle Geary scoring six points, Ruhlman had eight, Dakota McPeak had two with Collin Hinojosa chipped in two as well.
With just four points standing between Bellevue and victory, every second in the fourth quarter counted. From the very start, the crowd was on the edge of their seats— waiting to see who would come out on top.
Geary shot a three-pointer right at the start and sent the crowd into a frenzy. Finally, the Redmen and Tigers were tied. The score bounced back and forth as the two teams scored. Bellevue took the lead, then Galion, with neither one pulling out ahead. Then, a foul from Galion’s Ratcliff put Waskielis at the foul line. He scored two points for the Redmen— giving them the push they needed to finally gain the lead.
With less than a minute on the clock, McPeak scored a basket and Hartley earned two points at the charity stripe. Two more points from Ruhlman at the foul line put the Redmen at 50-43, and a foul from Galion’s Josh Eckert gave Bellevue one last chance to score before the clock ran out. The Redmen finished the game victorious, 51-43.
It was an emotional game for the players, but even more so for the two coaches who knew each other from Rich’s days as a coach at Galion.
“It was a game where we had our chances to put it away and simply couldn’t do it. Coach Rich did a great job of exploring our teams weaknesses. All the credit goes to him and his team for not giving up and making that comeback on us,” Bright said.
Although he and Rich might be on friendly terms off the court, there was definitely a spirit of competition and rivalry on the court as both coaches spurred on their teams to win.
“It’s very nice to get it over with,” said Rich, who admitted that it was an emotional experience to see the Redmen play against his old team. Although he’s glad it’s over, Rich is happy for the victory. “A great win for us, no doubt.”
In the end, there was no big secret to the Redmen’s success.
“What we realized,” said Rich. “It’s not like rocket science. You play hard, you win.”
Ivy Keller can be reached at 419-483-4190 ext. 1967. Follow us on Twitter @BellevueGazette.
Brandon Klein contributed to this report.
Galion— Colton Moore, 4-1-14; Zach Phelps, 1-0-2; Chase Cooke, 2-0-5; Houston Blair, 1-3-14; Gavin Ratcliff, 5-0-10. Totals, 13-4-45.
Bellevue— Kyle Geary, 2-1-14; Jake Waskielis, 3-0-8; Trey Ruhlman, 4-0-13; Collin Hinojosa, 1-0-2; Dakota McPeak, 2-1-8; Owen Hartley, 2-0-6; Totals, 14-2-51.
FG (Galion) Moore, 1; Blair, 3. (Bellevue) Geary, 1; McPeak, 1.
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