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Bell-Jeff steps up against Providence

Jim Riggio

Everyone knew it would be a battle of speed versus size.

And that’s what happened when the Bellarmine-Jefferson and

Providence boys’ basketball teams played in a nonleague contest


Saturday at Bell-Jeff.

In the end, it was Bell-Jeff’s size that prevailed, as the host

Guards earned a 47-39 victory.

“Early on, our inside power was too much. But they adjusted


well,” Bell-Jeff Coach Eli Essa said of Providence. “They exposed

our weakness, which is our outside shooting.”

However, fortunately for the Guards (2-1), J.J. Mastropietro’s

outside shot was working well.

Mastropietro hit four three-pointers -- including two in the

fourth quarter -- that helped keep Providence at bay. He ended with

18 points.

“Had he not hit the big shots in the fourth quarter, their game


plan would have worked,” Essa said of Mastropietro.

Providence (2-3) Coach Paolo Velasco was happy with his team’s

play, as the Pioneers came back to briefly take the lead in the

fourth quarter, after trailing by 13 at the end of the first quarter.

“The kids played real hard. Our defensive intensity picked it up.

We switched to a zone after the first quarter and that slowed them

down,” Velasco said.

Bell-Jeff received a dominating effort from Brendon Doyle, who


finished with 12 points and 18 rebounds. He had 13 rebounds in the

first half. Brian Alfaro had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Doyle picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter,

sending him to the bench.

With Doyle out, Providence took advantage and came back behind the

play of Frank Catota, who hit two three pointers in the third


The Pioneers took a 38-37 lead on a basket by Alex Knopper with

3:56 to play.

But Mastropietro countered with a three pointer.

“We missed a lot of free throws and because we’re small, we’re not

going to get a lot of shots inside,” Velasco said. “It’s tough to

give up four to five inches and 50 pounds inside.”