BARNESVILLE — Learning to handle each opponent’s ‘best shot’ each night they step on the hardcourt has been a learning process for Barnesville High this season.

On Monday night, the ‘Rocks passed one more test by holding off visiting Bellaire High for an hard-earned 81-73 victory to improve to 8-1 on the season.

"It didn’t used to be that way...but now our kids have to understand that teams want to beat us," Barnesville head coach Matt Johnson explained. "Part of it is because of Luke (Powell) he’s a top player in the area and also the fact we are having some success."

"So we’re learning how to handle that and we need to do a better job with that," Johnson added. "But tonight I have to give Bellaire and coach Battista (J.R.) a lot of credit. Those kids have gotten a lot better and knocked down some shots tonight and played hard."

But in the end, the ‘Rocks were able to hold on for the hard-fought victory thanks in large part to the exploits of their senior standout Luke Powell who once again gave Barnesville a huge effort.

Powell racked up another high scoring night to lead the ‘Rocks with a game-high 42 point explosion, including a crucial nine-point effort in the opening period to keep Barnesville within striking distance with Bellaire coming out on fire beyond the three-point line.

Bellaire senior David Zack was dialed in from long distance in that opening quarter, knocking down a trio of ‘treys’ to give the Big Reds a 22-17 lead heading to the second stanza.

In the second period, Powell heated up a bit to pump in post 19 points to lead Barnesville to a 28-24 scoring edge to pull within 46-45 at the halftime break.

To open the second half action, the ‘Rocks would take the lead for good with Powell dropping in nine points to spark a 14-11 Barnesville scoring advantage to take a 59-57 lead after three quarters of play.

In the fourth quarter, Barnesville was able to extend that lead with some solid shooting from the charity stripe, hitting on 11-of-15 foul shots en route to a 22-16 edge in the period.

Junior Ayden Hannahs led the way with a perfect 4-for-4 effort from the foul line, while sophomore Kason Powell connected on 3-of-4 attempts. That duo would each finish with 16 points to compliment Powell’s big scoring night.

"We don’t want to be a team where Luke has to go out and score 45 every night," Johnson offered. "Our role guys have not been making the shots lately like they did earlier in the year."

"Kason and Ayden did make some big shots tonight," Johnson continued. "But we have to get back to setting our feet and knocking down those good looks. Which we will, you go through spurts like this during a long season."

"But until then we have the luxury of having a talented player like Luke who can bail us out when we struggle, just like tonight," the Barnesville mentor stated.

Trenton Wilson would rack up 24 points to lead Bellaire, with Zwack finishing with 17 and Owen Ward adding 16 for the Big Reds.