BELLAIRE - Bellaire looked great in an OVAC consolation game Friday against visiting Oak Glen ... for about a quarter.
Nick Patrone was on fire, pouring in 11 of his game-high 18 points. The Big Reds held a commanding 14-2 lead.
Then, the game took a gradual downhill turn for the Reds before plummeting swiftly the final 10 minutes.
Oak Glen went on a devastating 19-0 run between the third and fourth quarters and Bellaire watched its final lead, 39-37 with two minutes to go in the third, quickly evaporate.
The Golden Bears held Bellaire to two field goals in the second half and 13 total points as they came away with a 66-41 victory.
Early, it was Patrone and his Big Reds' teammates driving and hitting layups or getting to the line that spelled trouble for the visitors.
Bellaire was 8 of 15 from the field and 12 of 15 at the line in the first half, taking a 28-25 lead at the break. Bears' coach Dave Smith, less than enthused with his team's man-to-man defense, had to make a change.
"Our man defense wasn't good (Friday)," Smith said as his team improved to 3-16. "I was frustrated with it, especially the first few quarters. We switched to zone and slowed them down a bit and Bellaire didn't shoot very well after that."
That's putting it mildly.
Oak Glen slowed the tempo and its zone took Bellaire penetration game out of the equation, forcing the Big Reds to spot up for shots.
Nathan Steele canned two 3s, the last with 2:05 showing in the third, giving Bellaire it's final lead.
The Big Reds' offensive production the next eight minutes was nil and the Bears', finally getting hot offensively, were more than happy to take advantage.
"We got good looks, but we couldn't make the shots. They didn't go down," a disappointed Bellaire coach J.R. Battista said, his team falling to 3-19. "It was that simple."
"Their zone slowed us down some, but we missed a lot of makeable shots and they made a lot."
Early, it was the aggressive play of Matt McLaughlin, who finished with 14 points and 11 at the half, that allowed the Bears to eat into that early 14-2 deficit.