MARTINSVILLE, NJ - Cubby Schuller appears to be a football player through and through.
But the All-Skyland Conference lineman made a measurable impact in the fourth quarter on the court Thursday to help the Bernards boys basketball team pull away for a 51-34 victory over Pingry.
Pingry had rallied from a 17-point deficit to close to within eight, 42-34, with five minutes left when the Mountaineers' center went to work. Schuller converted a nifty pass from Phil Mahlik into a layup with 4:14 left, blocked a pair of shots at the defensive end and then, with the score 45-34, muscled in for a putback bucket that gave Bernards (6-3) a 13-point lead.
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Schuller stuck back another offensive rebound with 2:00 left to provide the dagger, and a 49-34 lead that put the game officially out of reach for Pingry.
While Schuller, who scored half of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, was a catalyst down the stretch, it was guard Kyle Levine who provided the offensive spark to help Bernards build a 13-point halftime lead. Levine sank a pair of 3-pointers to help Bernards open a 12-5 lead after a quarter, then connected for seven more points in the second period as the Mountaineers extended their lead to 31-18. Levine scored all of his team-high 13 points in the first 16 minutes.
A 3-pointer by Ryan Tantleff gave Bernards a 21-12 lead. With Bernards ahead, 21-14, Luke Ballard converted a backdoor pass from Ed Gambelli into a layup, was fouled and turned it into a three-point play and a 10-point lead. Point guard Alex Kotwick's driving layup and Levine's two foul shots boosted Bernards to a 28-16 lead, and Levine capped the quarter with a 3-pointer for the 13-point halftime spread.
Bernards' man-to-man defense then made that double-digit advantage hold up by keeping Pingry scoreless for the first four minutes of the third quarter.