The Bellevue varsity boys basketball team is the district champion after a 60-31 victory over Marshall Academy on Friday, March 9. The win against Marshall was testament to a season well played, and the foreshadowing of a promising regional fight. The Broncos tournament run, however ended Wednesday, March 14 with a loss to Marcellus Howardsville. The team finished the 2017-2018 season, with a 22-2 record, holding 19 of those opposing teams at 40 points or less.
After another sweeping victory against St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (64-29) Monday, March 12, head coach, Joe Costello, has high hopes for the rest of the regional tournament.
The game against St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic was the first game for the Broncos in the regional tournament. While they’ve never taken a regional victory to date, Costello is confident they will if the team continues to show up with the same hard defense they’ve had the rest of the season.
“This is the best defensive team I’ve ever had. We play shutdown defense,” said Costello. “We make it uncomfortable for the other team. Nobody gets an easy shot.”
The team’s exceptional defense has carried the season, according to Costello. He’s always pressed his players to focus on the defensive and let the points make themselves. His team this year, however, finally locked down the practical side of his defense first philosophy. While Costello’s teams have only lost three games in the last two years, it’s this group of guys who have shown up with their best for every game.
But of course the points matter, and Costello’s players haven’t lost an offensive touch by focusing on defense. The defensive emphasis was only a stepping stool for the Bellevue boys to rack up the points. While Costello boasts of a team that’s not selfish with the ball, the three top scorers have had a notably outstanding season. Wyatt Waterbury, Carson Betz, and Gino Costello have brought out strong offensive ball handling throughout the season, and the March 9 game hit a scoring peak for the team.
Without realizing how close he was, Waterbury passed his 1,000-point scoring threshold, putting him in the top five highest scorers in Bellevue history. Starting out the season Waterbury knew passing the threshold was a possibility, but he didn’t think he’d hit 1,000 until his senior year. After making what he thought was just another basket, Waterbury caught the announcement that he’d scored his 1,000-point of high school basketball career.
“It’s an honor, and it’s really cool. It’s not something I planned to get growing up, but it’s a great feeling to have,” said Waterbury.
To Costello, Wyatt’s achievement is especially impressive because he’s used a balanced player rotation. Wyatt hasn’t had more playtime than his teammates, according to Costello, so crossing the 1,000-point threshold is completely earned and deserved.
“He’s a legitimate player. He busts his butt on defense too,” said Costello. “Wyatt deserves everything he gets. It’s rare to have a two way player like that.”
The defensive and scoring successes of the team are a result of hard practices, according to Costello. While he works the boys through the drills and ball handling exercises, he makes the team scrimmage at nearly every practice. The need to actually “play basketball” drives Costello’s coaching philosophy, and his players challenge each other in every scrimmage.
For more information on the Bellevue Broncos, readers can visit bellevueathletics.org.