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Ole Miss returns home with win over Bellmont

BY ERIC HINDERLITER - ctreporter@indy.rr.com

GAS CITY--It’s always good to come back home. The Mississinewa boys’ basketball team, after a seven game stretch on the road and not having played in front of their faithful since November 28, found their home floor to their liking Wednesday night.

Their 63-42 win over Bellmont moved their record on the season to 6-5.

“We should have a better record than we do,” said Indian coach Andrew Evertts. “It’s just putting it together and getting that experience of playing together.”

There was a lot to like right from the start.

In a line-up shift, Landen Swanner was inserted into the starting lineup and set the tone on the Tribe’s first possession when he banked in a three-pointer. Moments later, Swanner hit another three, and after a Thabit Gault bucket, Ole Miss held an 8-0 lead.

“I’m not surprised (about Swanner’s performance),” praised Evertts. “I’m proud of him. He puts in a lot of work. He got an opportunity and made the most of it.”

The Braves struggled all through the first half, turning the ball over ten times and hitting just five of 15 shots from the field in the face of the Indian defense.

Offensively, Mississinewa benefitted from Swanner’s hot shooting (he hit two more three’s in the second quarter) and a whole lot of Gault in the first half. Gault scored eight points in the first half as the Indians stretched their lead to as much as 30-11 at one point in the first half.

A bit of a lull struck the Indians in the third quarter. Behind eight points from Jordan Fuelling, the Braves were able to slice into the Indian lead, getting it down to as little as eight points twice in the third quarter.

“That’s just our team,” said Evertts of the third quarter. “We always get content in the second half. That’s playing with fire. We are going to do that against the wrong team at some point.”

Mississinewa was able to right the ship in the fourth quarter, limiting the Braves to just eight shots from the field and forcing them into six turnovers.

Gault helped power the way with nine points in the quarter. Ole Miss also hit nine of ten attempts from the free throw line down the stretch.

Evertts was pleased with the many facets of his squad’s performance.

“I thought our guys came out and did exactly what we wanted to do,” he noted. “We blocked out. We finished plays. We played our basketball.”

Gault finished the night with 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

The Indians hit 44 percent from the field including seven of 14 from three-point range. They also held a 28-18 rebounding advantage.

“He does such a good job getting offensive rebounds and making his own opportunities,” said Evertts of Gault.

Swanner notched 16 points while Heisman Skeens scored ten.

Jordan Fuelling led Bellmont with 14 points as the Braves drop to 5-10.

Mississinewa returns to action on Friday with a home game with Blackford.