SOUTH WHITLEY – The Whitko Wildcats boys’ basketball team encountered shooting and ball-movement woes against the visiting Bellmont Braves’ 1-3-1 zone trap defense in a 56-30 home loss to their guests from Adams County. The Braves’ 5’8” senior guard Isaiah Wellman scored 24 points including a 13-point steak in the second quarter to make matters worse for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats made an early 8-5 run midway through the first quarter when Slater Craig scored four straight points to tie the game at ten apiece at 3:51 in the opening frame. Bellmont turned up the heat, and applied more pressure, flustering Whitko with sideline traps, exacerbated by cold Wildcat shooting inside and outside the three-point line in the ensuing 8:31.

The first period ended with the Braves scoring seven straight points to take command 17-10 after one quarter before Wellman caught fire in the second frame.

Bellmont continued their run with another basket to open the second stanza. Wellman added eight unanswered points form the arc, from the free throw line, and through the lane capping a 17-0 Braves run before Slater Craig broke the schneid for Whitko with a bucket with 3:38 remaining before halftime. Wellman took the wheel again for five more tallies, and sophomore Collin Ziebarth hit a three-point bucket for the Wildcats, who trailed 32-15 at halftime.

Kyler Krull briefly reversed Whitko’s fortunes with a six-point run to open the second half, but Bellmont responded with a 15-2 run to widen their lead over the Wildcats to 47-23 after three periods.

Bellmont reached its biggest lead of the night 51-23 in the final period before Whitko ended another drought with another bucket by Krull. This time 9:03 elapsed between David Ousley’s third quarter layup off a steal, and Krull’s basket at 3:16 in the fourth stanza.

Wellman took a breather for the night after the six-minute mark in the fourth quarter, and the Braves cleared their bench while outscoring Whitko 9-7 in the last frame to defeat their hosts 56-30.

The remainder of Bellmont’s offensive output was comprised of efforts from John Ullman (12 points), Kord Fuelling (seven points off the bench), Chase Lenegar (six points off the bench), DJ Kitson (four points), Trent Geimer (two points), and Jack Scheumann added one free throw.

Krull, a 6’3” sophomore guard, led Whitko with ten points while Craig (eight points), and Ziebarth (five points), Mason Streby (four points), Ousley (two points), and Brent Bowers (one pt.) comprised the Wildcats’ scoring.

The Wildcats play Smith Academy  today at 1 p.m. in Blackhawk Christian’s gymnasium.