BELMONT – The losing streak is finally over.
Belmont had to wait with bated breath when Highland’s Spencer Linscheid stepped to the foul line to attempt three free throws with no time left on the clock and his team down by two points.
However, the Cardinals’ junior sank just one of his attempts as the Braves held on for a 37-36 Six Rivers West boys’ basketball victory to snap a 37-game losing streak at BHS on Tuesday, Jan. 30.
“It worked out well for us in the end. The boys were excited. The community and student section was thrilled as well. It was great to be in that environment and getting it at home. I think the boys really enjoyed the victory,” said Belmont head coach Mitch Austin after earning his first varsity win after more than a season and a half leading the Braves.
Belmont’s last previous win came during the 2016 playoffs when they defeated River Ridge by a score of 52-39 in a regional quarterfinal game on March 1. The Braves went 0-23 in 2016-17, and then dropped their first 13 games this season before Tuesday’s triumph.
“It’s been a long stretch for the boys, but I have to give them a lot of credit. They have never faltered in their faith, their hope and their trust in what we were doing,” beamed Austin.
Sophomore forward Brady Wedig scored all 10 of his points in the first half and junior guard Colin Austin added eight of his game-high 17 points in the opening period to help put the Braves (1-14 overall, 1-8 SRW) up 24-16 at the intermission.
Austin netted nine of the team’s 13 second-half points to keep the Cardinals (5-12, 1-8) at bay. Alberto de Paola (nine points) and Linscheid (seven) teamed up to bring Highland within striking distance down the stretch.
Belmont was clinging to a 37-35 lead with 18 seconds to go. After stopping several attempts by de Paola to drive to the hoop, the ball was kicked out to Linscheid, who initially bobbled it before getting off an off-balanced 3-pointer at the buzzer. The shot didn’t go in, but a foul was called giving Linscheid another chance to rally his team for the victory.
He missed his first attempt but made the second to keep the Cardinals’ hope for overtime alive. However, his final attempt was off the mark as the Braves held on to end a near 23-month drought between victories.
De Paola finished with 12 points to lead Highland, which is coached by Belmont graduate Paul Wedig.
Lindscheid followed with 11 points for the Cards.
Belmont’s non-conference game at Juda scheduled for Monday, Feb. 5, was postponed due to the weather. It has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 12.
Belmont has upcoming SRW games at home against Shullsburg (7-10, 4-4) on Thursday, Feb. 8, and at River Ridge (9-7, 5-2) on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
Highland……… 16 20 – 36
Belmont…….... 24 13 – 37
Highland– Lindscheid 11, De Paola 12, Welsh 5, Halverson 4, Hying 2, Yanna 2. Totals – 14 7-15 36.
Belmont – Justan Ernst 2, Ethan James 3, Jacob Amenda 5, Colin Austin 17, Brady Wedig 10. Totals – 14 6-15 37.
3-point goals– H 1 (Welsh 1), B 3 (James 1, Austin 2). Total fouls– H 17, B 14. Fouled out– H: Welsh.