Miller ousts Belpre in sectional, 73-43

Belpre’s Brandon Simoniette (12) and Miller’s Alec Eveland (3) battle for the opening tip of Tuesday’s high school boys Division IV sectional final basketball game at Meigs High School in Pomeroy. Photo by Mike Morrison

POMEROY, Ohio — It’s very hard to beat the same team three times in the same season.

The Belpre Golden Eagles learned that lesson the hard way Tuesday night as they were routed by the Miller Falcons 73-43 in a Division IV sectional championship game at Meigs High School.

After downing Miller twice in the regular season, by a lone point on the road and by 14 at home earlier this month, the Tyler Leasure-coached Eagles had to feel pretty good about their chances.

Unfortunately for the black and orange, Miller came out on fire and never really let up as it rolled to the 30-point win.

Miller scored the first 18 points of the game and held Belpre scoreless until freshman Connor Baker’s short jumper with 12 seconds to play in the first quarter.

Belpre began to heat up a bit in the second quarter as it got a three-pointer from point guard Logan Adams and a field goal by Nate Godfrey to cut the lead to 15, but once again the Falcons went on an 8-0 run to open up a 30-7 lead with three minutes to play in the half.

The Golden Eagles managed to string together a 6-1 run paced by a pair of Godfrey field goals to close the lead at the break to 31-13.

Belpre continued to chip away at the lead early in the second half thanks to triples by Brandon Simoniette and Adams to cut the lead to 13 but Miller regrouped and went on 11-2 run to increase their lead to 44-22.

Miller quickly smashed any idea that Belpre may have had to put together a miracle comeback by out-pointing Belpre 13-4 to open the final period and cruised the rest of the way to claim the sectional title and punch their ticket to the Convocation Center in Athens for district tournament play beginning next week.

The Falcons were led in scoring by Colby Bartley with 26 while junior point guard Carson Starlin added 23.

Starlin was the catalyst all game long for the Shawn Bartley-led Falcons and finished the game with team highs in steals (7) and assists (7) while also pulling down five rebounds.

Seattle Compston added nine points for Miller, which improved to 14-8 on the season with the win.

Belpre was led by Simoniette with 15 points, including three from behind the arc, while Godfrey and Adams added seven apiece.

The game was the final one for Belpre seniors Cole Knotts, Bailey Sprague and Godfrey.

Belpre’s season comes to a close with a 12-11 record.