By Kedrick Storey
BLUE MOUNTAIN – Emmanuel Simmons delivered 26 points and 11 rebounds and Jaylon Gaines added 23 points as the No. 4 Biggersville Lions defeated the Blue Mountain Cougars 86-75 in the latest matchup of north Class 1A contenders.
It was the Lions’ seventh straight win over the Cougars.
“Emmanuel played huge,” said Biggersville coach Cliff Little. “He stepped up big for us. Gaines stepped up big . But it was a total team effort.”
Gaines connected on a pair of 3-pointers and Simmons scored on three low-post baskets to help give Biggersville a 24-16 lead after one quarter.
Blue Mountain stormed back behind star guard Ismael Ruedas, who scored nine straight at one point in the second quarter to tie the game at 26. Ruedas had 21 points at the break and finished with a game-high 32.
The Lions closed on a 13-4 run to lead 39-31 at the break.
“I thought we guarded well and they hit some shots that I don’t know how they make them,” added Little. “The Ruedas kid, he’s a heck of a player.”
In the second half, Blue Mountain got to within 39-34 before Daniel Simmons, who didn’t play in the first half due to a coaches decision, entered with 5:47 left in the third, sparking the Lions. He scored on back-to-back runners in the midst of a 12-2 run to lead 50-36.
Emmanuel Simmons scored six more points to help Biggersville lead 64-45 at the end of three.
Daniel Simmons finished with 12 points. Darin Barnett added 13 for the Lions.
Blue Mountain got a combined 15 points from Jacob Girley and Dontae Knox in the final quarter to close to within 72-66. The Lions kept them at bay by going 8-for-10 at the charity stripe down the stretch. Girley finished with 19 points.
(G) Biggersville 61, Blue Mountain 55: Jada Tubbs had 20 points for Biggersville (4-8). O’Sheyuana Foote led Blue Mountain with 15.