BELDING — The game between the Wyoming Lee Rebels and the Belding Redskins was pretty well decided by the third quarter, but the intensity and high emotions continued throughout the game Friday.
The Rebels stayed undefeated (6-0 overall, 1-0 OK-Silver) with a decisive 74-46 win against Belding (2-5, 0-1). The conference win was the first one in as many as four years for Wyoming Lee, according to Rebels second-year coach Myron Guyton.
“The makeup of this team is a bunch of kids tired of getting whooped on in the past,” said Guyton, whose team won only three games last year. “They wanted to put work in the summer to improve and that’s what I’m about, I’m about improving, working hard and playing together.”
The Rebels took advantage of Belding’s early foul troubles from starting players, making a 10-0 run just before halftime to break open a 35-21 lead.
Shortly after the third quarter got underway, however, tempers flared and a technical was called on Belding after the Rebels extended their lead to 40-24.
Another technical foul was then called on a Rebels player only a couple minutes later, at which time the referees then called both coaches over to give out warnings to keep the composure of the game.
At the start of the fourth quarter, however, Belding was again given a technical foul, in which Wyoming Lee was given two free throws that extended the Rebels’ lead to 59-36.
Belding ended with 25 fouls while Wyoming Lee had 24 on the game.
After the game, Belding’s first-year coach Steve Saboo told his players they need to learn to not lose focus on the game despite the score.
“I told them no matter what happens, we need to play basketball,” he said. “There are challenges that come to you during a basketball game and that’s where we need to learn how to focus and keep our heads and play the rest of the game. Calls, trash talk, chirping shouldn’t matter, so we’re going to learn from today and make it better for the next game.”
Saboo said despite the tough loss, he saw good things being done that the team can build on.
“When we had patience on offense, we could get wide open shot after wide open shot,” Saboo said. “When we lost our patience is when the turnovers happen. When we had patience, we were even with them.”
Guyton was proud of his team’s composure at the end and was happy to come out with a conference win on the road.
“It was a chippy game. I believe my guys handled it with class,” he said. “I told my team it was going to be a fight, you know, even if we’re up it’s going to be a fight. I think they were very physical and we matched their physicalness and we kept a cool head in the end.”
Wyoming Lee was led by junior guard Jay’Quan Williams and senior guard Samuel Beane, who had 20 and 17 points, respectively.
“Sam is a returning all-conference player. He is an excellent shooter, he plays hard,” Guyton said about Beane. “He’s a senior. He’s very caring for his team and very caring for his school. He wants to go out with a good year. He wants a big playoff run, which I do, too.”
Belding was led by sophomore Levi Syrjala with 11 points, followed by senior Simone D’Errico with nine points, five rebounds and two assists.
Belding is at Hopkins Tuesday, while Wyoming Lee will face NorthPointe Christian.