ROSE HILL – Key players take over when it matters. Whether it be on the defensive end or on the offensive end, they step up. That’s when seniors step up.
Xavier Bell stepped up.
Bell scored 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Andover Central continues to turn around their season, beating the Rose Hill Rockets 53-38 on Tuesday night.
“I just took my time with everything,” Bell said. “I settled down and got my looks. It was my guys who got me open looks.”
This is a different Jaguars team. They were unselfish and playing with some fire, something that appeared from the outside, to be missing.
Bell committed to Drexel over the weekend and you could tell his game changed. The senior was more engaged and maybe that started over the weekend.
“I can admit it took my attention away from basketball,” Bell said.
The Jaguars went to Chanute; sweeping through the tournament for the third straight year but more importantly they came together as a team.
“Being away, together as a team,” Bell said. “That was big for us. We were able to get away from the distractions and just play as a team.”
From the jump of the fourth when Bell took over. He hit a jumper from the left nail, putting the Jaguars up for. On the ensuing possession, he snagged his own miss and put it back up for the layup.
Then, fighting through three Rocket defenders, he carved his initials on the floor, cutting to the basket. Bell capped it off after Koby Campbell was caught on a 2-on-1 situation, the Jaguars moved the ball, found Bell on the baseline for the jumper.
In a matter of what felt like seconds, the Jaguars pushed their lead to double digits.
The lead only grew from there as Andover Central outscored Rose Hill 23-10 in the fourth quarter.
Jerome Washington nailed a three, giving Andover Central a 41-29 lead with 4:28 to go in the fourth.
You came for a basketball game but you really came for the Campbell-Bell show and the two didn’t disappoint. The adversaries guarded each other for a majority of the night. The Campbell appeared to have gotten the better of the two, nailing a big three from across have court to end the third quarter.
Then, Bell’s fourth quarter explosion happened. The senior appeared to be locked in, unable to let his team take the cold bus ride home to Andover with a loss.
“I trusted my teammates,” Bell said. “My shots weren’t falling earlier. They put me in the right position.”
After leading 22-21 at halftime, Campbell hit a three to start the second half to give the Rockets their first lead since the early minutes of the half.
Bell had a key block on Campbell in the fourth quarter that led to a breakout layup by Washington, increasing the Jaguar lead.
Bell finished with 21 points on the night. Washington had 19, including nine of his own in the fourth quarter.
Campbell led the Rockets with 15 points. Asa Vrbas, who scored all five of the Rockets’ first quarter points, finished with 10 points.
Andover Central has won four straight games. With the way they’re playing, they may not lose again.
“We still have one big goal,” Bell said. “I know we can get there.”