MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Dec. 10–17)
BOYS BASKETBALL: Belmont 48, Shullsburg 37
SHULLSBURG — It seemed like déjà vu all over again for the Belmont Braves boys’ basketball team after watching host Shullsburg erase a seven-point second-half to grab a one-point lead with just over three minutes remaining in Friday’s Six Rivers West game.
However, this Friday the 13th turned out not to be a horror story for the Braves, who reeled off 13 unanswered points to rally past the Miners for a hard-fought 48-37 victory at SHS on Friday, Dec. 13.
“We had some adversity and some things go against us at times, and we made a lot of mistakes but we battled all game and came out on the other side. That was good to see and that’s what I’m most proud of. We figured out a way to win the game,” said Brad Solberg after picking up his first victory as the Braves’ head coach.
The win not only halted an 11-game overall losing streak and a 16-game conference losing streak for the Braves (1–2 overall, 1–1 SRW), but also ended a 19-game slide against Shullsburg dating back to 2010.
The Braves used a balanced scoring attack and an in-your-face defensive approach to take a 21–16 lead into the locker room at halftime. Belmont got six points from senior Kolton Westemeier and five points apiece from sophomores Waylon Palzkill and Tyler Simmons on offense, while the Braves’ defense held Shullsburg’s leading scorer, junior Brandon Hoppman, scoreless in the first half.
Hoppman came on strong at the start of the second half scoring eight of the Miners’ first 10 points to erase a seven-point Belmont lead. His 3-pointer with 8:34 to play evened the score at 26 all.
The Braves jumped back on top thanks to five consecutive points from senior Justan Ernst, but Shullsburg junior Chandler Kelly buried back-to-back 3-pointers– over two minutes apart– to put the Miners into the lead at 32-31 with 3:17 remaining.
Westemeier, who finished with career-high 13 points, answered with a trey of his own to thrust Belmont back into the lead to stay. Senior Luke Kamps hit another clutch 3 and Westemeier went 4-for-4 at the free throw stripe to extend the lead to 44-32 with 38 seconds left on the clock.
“We’ve been offensively challenge, for the most part, so far this season. We had some pretty good looks, especially in the first half, that weren’t falling. We just have to keep working to get better. We’ve been improving on defense. We knew it was going to be a physical game. Belmont came her ready to play,” Shullsburg head coach Luke Tyson said.
Palzkill added a career-best 12 points in the win. Kamps finished with eight points and Ernst added six for the Braves, who connected on 19 of their 27 foul shots on the night.
“We’re going to be playing a lot of game like this during the season, so we have to get comfortable playing like this,” noted Solberg.
Kelly led Shullsburg with 13 points. Hoppman poured in 10 points– all in the second half– and junior Brendan Kudronowicz netted seven for the Miners, who got the foul line just seven times in the game and made three.
“Hopefully (the Six Rivers West season) is going to be a lot of fun like this, but we’re going to need to start winning some game for that to happen,” stated Tyson.
Belmont 48, Shullsburg 37
(From, Friday, Dec. 13 @ Shullsburg)
Belmont………. 21 27 – 48
Shullsburg…… 16 21 – 37
Belmont – Kolton Westemeier 13, Justan Ernst 6, Luke Kamps 8, Tyler Simmons 5, Mitch Douglas 1, Waylon Palzkill 12, Brady Wedig 3. Totals – 12 19-27 48.
Shullsburg– Brendan Kudronowicz 7, Chandler Kelly 13, Brandon Hoppman 10, Eli Cherrey 3, Jack Charles 4. Totals – 14 3-7 37.
3-point goals– B 5 (Westemeier 1, Kamps 2, Simmons 1,), S 6 (Kudronowicz 2, Kelly 2, Hoppman 1, Cherrey 1). Total fouls– B 10, S 22. Fouled out– S: Hoppman.