Bruins overwhelm Wheeling Park, 66-49

WELLSBURG – Michael Jebbia has piled up 123 victories in his six-plus seasons at Wheeling Park.

Part of what helped him get to that number so quickly was that he and his guys were able to fatten up on some down Brooke teams a couple of times in each of those years.

He entered Tuesday’s clash in the Brooke Wellness Center with a record of 14-0 against the Bruins, having last seen them do any type of celebrating when he was an assistant during Sam Andy’s final season.

Brooke started on a 9-0 run, let the Patriots get back into it just before halftime, then scored the first three baskets of the second half on its way to a 66-49 victory, its first against Park since 2006.

”The bottom line is Brooke (8-4) cared more – Brooke wanted it more,” Jebbia said. ”All you had to watch as a spectator was the first three minutes, 9-0, and the first three minutes of the second half, 6-0. There’s 15 points right there.”

Indeed. But the way things have gone in this rivalry, Bruins coach Dave Reitter wasn’t sure if any of it was enough.

”I commend my kids for being able to handle the run they made at us in the first half,” Reitter said. ”In the past, runs like that have caused us to fold, caused us to lose our composure. We maintained it and came back out ready to play again and started doing the things we were supposed to do in the first half.”

Wheeling Park (3-7) trailed by 12 after the first quarter, but outscored the Bruins 15-6 to make it a three-point game at halftime. From there, Brooke pushed its lead to as high as 17 and maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the fourth quarter.

The Bruins got it done behind four double-figure scorers, including a pair of fellows who made a living beyond the 3-point line. Russell Schwertfeger hit four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points and Eric Johnson hit three more and added 12 points. Meanwhile, with an array of short jumpers, Ryan Heaton added 18 points and Jessi Gambellin controlled things inside with 10.

Brooke outscored Wheeling Park, which was led by 12 points from Luke Saseen and 10 from Phillip Bledsoe, 28-22 in the paint and 21-15 from beyond the arc.

”The thing is you always want to beat Wheeling Park,” Reitter said. ”No matter what happens, they’ve always had a great program. Michael’s got a great group of kids there. They play hard. They play a tough schedule. So you know that when you play them, it’s not going to be a cake walk; it’s going to be an aggressive basketball game.”

Seven losses in 10 outings doesn’t sit well with a guy like Jebbia, who has taken each of his last four teams to the state tournament, including a pair of state championship games.

”We just have a lot of guys that are more worried about themselves more than the team. Until we fix that, until we start to play harder, it’s going to be a rough year.

”(The Bruins) care about each other, and I’m not 100 percent sure our guys care about each other right now. They don’t have to invite each other for dinner, but they have to play together as a unit.”

Brooke 66, Wheeling Park 49

Wheeling Park 5 15 10 19 – 49

Brooke 17 6 21 22 – 66

WHEELING PARK: Reinbeau 3 0-0 8; Phillips 3 0-0 6; Saseen 5 1-3 12; Snedeker 0 0-0 0; Smith 2 0-0 6; Thomas 0 2-2 2; Bledsoe 4 2-2 10; Blackston 1 1-2 3; Kowalo 0 2-4 2. Totals: 18 8-15 49. 3-pointers: Reinbeau 2, Saseen, Smith.

BROOKE: Schambach 0 0-0 0; Cole 0 0-0 0; Johnson 3 3-3 12; Wallace 3 1-1 7; Heaton 9 1-2 19; Schwertfeger 5 4-7 18; Buchmelter 0 0-0 0; Gambellin 4 2-3 10. Totals: 24 1-16 66. 3-pointers: Johnson 3, Schwertfeger 4.