Bellevue League Champs—Again!

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

For six years in a row, the Bellevue boys’ varsity basketball team has taken top honors in the Southern Central Athletic Association (SCAA). Bellevue clinched the league championship on March 4 when they defeated Waldron 56 to 26 in their final regular-season game.

This victory raised their SCAA record to 16-0 and is the first time they’ve finished a season undefeated, setting a new school record. Their overall record is 17-3. Their previous game against Athens ended with a score of 74-26.

Bellevue travels to the Jackson Christian School District competition where they are the number one seed. Their first game is on March 9 against Marshall Academy.

“What makes your players so good at what they do?” we asked Bellevue Varsity Coach Joe Costello. Costello has coached at Bellevue for 13 years, with 12 of them at the Varsity level, and has his own personal record of 217 wins and 51 losses as a coach.

“I give a lot of credit to the kids and their determination,” Costello said. “They’re very competitive, high energy, are self-motivated, and are just very good players. We have a great program and great kids who have played together for a while.”

“Our high energy defensive pressure is like organized chaos to other teams,” Costello said, “and sometimes even we seem confused at what we’re doing, but it works for us.”

“We won 12 out of 16 games by more than 30 points, and two others by 20 points this season,” Costello admitted. “No one got closer than nine points to us the whole season. All things considered, our players had a pretty dominant league season.”

It didn’t use to be this way. Under Costello’s guidance, the team has grown and has become a proven winner in their league, and beyond. “We’ve gained a lot of credibility in our league due to our successes,” he said.

Costello has nominated four of his players for the all-league team, and all four made the cut, either for the first or second team. The names have not been released yet, however. The final decision is made by the other coaches in the league.

The successful season was accomplished even with the effects of COVID-19 going on. “Several games we were short players who were in quarantine and had to sit out for five days,” said Costello, “and sometimes we didn’t even have enough players to scrimmage at practice.”

“I am hoping the team can win the districts, and we are looking forward to the team heading to the regionals next week,” Costello said. “We have the talent to compete at a high level and we’re looking forward to the challenges ahead.”