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Saddled with foul trouble and struggling from the field, Reavis’ Nick Bal had a first half to forget Friday night against Montini.
The senior guard made sure his second half effort was not one the Broncos would want to remember.
Scoring 13 points, hitting 8-of-10 free throws and pulling down four huge rebounds in the fourth quarter, Bal helped lead host Reavis to a 54-46 nonconference win.
“The first half was one of the most frustrating I’ve ever had,” Bal said. “My teammates stepped up and did a great job for me.”
Junior Eddie Puha finished with a monster game, scoring 27 points and finishing with 10 rebounds for Reavis (7-3) while Bal finished with 17 points, all in the second half.
Averaging 20 points per game coming in, Bal lit it up in the fourth. The Rams trailed 41-33 early in the fourth, but with Puha scoring six straight the deficit shrunk.
After two Montini free throws from Logan Goss, Bal drilled a corner three-pointer to cut the lead to a point at 43-42. His pair of free throws with 3:51 remaining put Reavis up for good.
“I just tried to clear my mind some (in the second half),” Bal said. “I made sure I stepped up for the team and helped get the win.”
Reavis outscored Montini 21-8 in the fourth quarter.
With Bal on the bench for extended stretches over the first three quarters, Puha stepped up for the Rams. The junior forward had 13 of Reavis’ 19 first-half points and kept his team in the game. Montini used a 20-4 first-half run to go up 27-17 late in the second.
“I told Nick he better take care of Eddie, buy him dinner or something,” Reavis coach Jeff Smith said. “Eddie was an All-Conference player last year, and after a bad game against T.F. North I told him he has to play like one every game. He sure did tonight.”
Sean Nash (12 points) and Pat Mooney (11 points) led visiting Montini (7-2).