MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Dec. 23–30)
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Belmont 71, Argyle 70 (OT)
BELMONT — Belmont has already faced plenty of adversity this season, so it was no surprise to their coach what they persevered to pull out an thrilling overtime victory over Argyle in non-conference girls’ basketball action at BHS on Monday, Dec. 28.
Down three key veterans due to injuries and a close-contact quarantine, the young Lady Braves (6-3 overall) rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final minute of regulation to force overtime and then sank three free throws in the final 49 seconds of OT to shoot down the visiting Orioles (2-4), 71-70, for their fourth straight victory.
“We didn’t start off real well. We’re missing several key parts, and we’re playing some young kids in positions they’re not used to yet,” said Belmont head coach Kaleen McGettigan. “We had a discussion at halftime, and they responded in the second half. You like to see that happen.”
Sophomore guard Kennedy Howell hit five 3-pointers on her way to a career-high 23 points to lead the Braves, while sophomore forward Tori Nodolf scored 20 of her career-high 22 points in the second half– including a 10-of-15 performance from the free throw line– to help fuel the comeback for the hosts.
The Orioles took a 28-18 lead into the locker room at the half and pushed their advantage to as many as 12 early in the second half before the Braves began to mount their comeback with some clutch shooting from the foul line and beyond the 3-point arc.
Belmont connected on 20 of their 38 free throw attempts in the second half and used three 3s from Howell and a pair of treys from sophomore Mia Hodgson to wipe out the Argyle lead and prevail in OT.
“We played team basketball in the second half. We didn’t do that in the first half. We started to share the basketball getter, we made the right reads and our intensity was way better in the second half,” McGettigan remarked.
The Orioles held a 61-54 lead following a pair of made free throws by junior Maggie Godfrey with 1:20 remaining in regulation, and were still clinging to a 63-61 advantage with 11.3 second to go after Nodolf hit a pair of key free throws for the Braves.
Argyle had a chance to closed out the victory down the stretch when Belmont was whistled for an intentional foul with just 9.2 remaining. Junior Grace Ganshert made one of two foul shots to put the Orioles up by three at 64-61; however, on the ensuing inbound pass, the Braves forced a tie-up and got control of the ball with the possession arrow in their favor.
Hodgson was fouled with 5.6 to play and made the first foul shot to pull the Braves within two. She missed the second attempt, but Nodolf fought for the rebound and put it back through the basket with under three seconds to go to deadlock the score at 64 all.
Argyle was not able to get off a shot before the buzzer sounded at the end of regulation.
“These young girls haven’t been in these positions at the varsity level. We made some mistakes out on the floor that in the past would have ended us. We would have just shut down. Instead, we rallied around each other and picked each other up and made some good plays down the stretch. That was great to see,” said McGettigan.
The teams traded the lead to start OT with Howell and freshman Reese Runde netting baskets to put the Braves up 68-65, while Godfrey answered back with a free throw and a basket of her own to put the Orioles up 70-68 with under a minute to go in the extra session.
Sophomore Chloe Crapp knocked down two free throws with 49.4 remaining to even the score once more at 70-70, and then she put the Braves into the lead to stay by sinking 1-of-2 attempts with 13.8 remaining to make it 71-70.
Nodolf registered a game-saving block near the end of the OT period to preserve the one-point lead, and the Braves held on for a thrilling victory.
Hodgson tallied all 10 of her points in the second half to help the Braves erase a 10-point halftime deficit with a 46-36 second half rally.
Freshman Lainey Riechers contributed six points and Crapp scored all five of her points from the stripe for the Braves, who played without starters Ashley Freeman, Rilyn Mootz and Kylie Crapp.
Godfrey scored 13 of her game-high 27 points in the second-half and OT to guide the Orioles’ attack. Junior Chesney Leigh chipped in with 12 points, Ganshert finished with 11– all in the second half– and junior Tori Lantz added 10 for Argyle.
Belmont is scheduled to return to action with a Six Rivers West game against Potosi/Cassville at PHS on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.
Belmont 71, Argyle 70
(From Monday, Dec. 28 @ Belmont)
Argyle…… 28 36 6 – 70
Belmont… 18 46 7 – 71
Argyle (2–4) – Ganshert 11, A. Godfrey 3, Leigh 12, Lantz 10, Gilbertson 5, M. Godfrey 27, J. Allison 2. Totals – 22 22-35 70.
Belmont (6–3) – Lainey Riechers 6, Mia Hodgson 10, Chloe Crapp 5, Rylee Rogers 3, Reese Runde 2, Tori Nodolf 22, Kennedy Howell 23. Totals – 20 23-47 71.
3-point goals– A 4 (Ganshert 1, Leigh 2, M. Godfrey 1), B 8 (Riechers 1, Hodgson 2, Howell 5). Total fouls– A 30, B 25. Fouled out– A: Leigh, Lantz, Gilbertson; B: Riechers.