HIGHLAND – The Belmont girls’ basketball team moved one step closer to their historic first conference championship title after holding off host Highland, 44-41, in an exciting Six Rivers West girls’ basketball game at HHS on Friday, Feb. 17.
The Braves (18-3 overall, 8-1 in SRW) trailed 21-18 at halftime, but turned the tables on the Cardinals (13-6, 3-5) thanks to a 17-point surge in the third quarter. Senior Kailee Kamps scored six of Belmont’s 17 points in the period to turn their three-point deficit into a 35-32 advantage heading into the final frame.
The Braves continued to cling to their lead in the fourth quarter thanks in part to senior Molly Bockhop, who nailed 3-of-4 free throws in the final stanza including a pair of clutch foul shots with under a minute to play that gave the Orange-and-Black a 44-41 lead.
Highland had a chance to tie it late following a turnover by the Braves with 11 seconds to play, but the Belmont defenders blanketed Highland sharp-shooter Leigh Drury leaving Emily Wolfe to heave up a half-court desperation 3 at the buzzer.
Wolfe’s shot fell short, giving the Braves their fifth straight victory and a chance at their first-ever conference crown in their finale.
“Highland is a very good team and they do the little things well. We knew we were going to have a tough game and it was a must win for us. Our intensity in the third quarter is what helped change the game around for us,” said Belmont head coach Kaleen McGettigan. “Molly and Kailee continue to be offensive threats for us, and both Keegan and Jordyn Kamps did outstanding jobs defensively. It was a team effort and a great win for us.”
Ka. Kamps and Bockhop each finished with 14 points to lead Belmont on the night, while Bockhop added six rebounds and three assists and Ka. Kamps had two steals.
J. Kamps tallied six points to become the fifth team member to surpass the 100-point mark, and she also pulled down a team-best eight rebounds. Ke. Kamps had six boards and two steals for the Braves.
Taylor Wienkes scored a game-high 17 points Drury chipped in with 14 points for the Cardinals.
The #13-ranked Lady Braves are currently tied with Potosi atop the league standings with identical 8-1 records with just one league game remaining to play.
Belmont has to go on the road to take on River Ridge (8-12, 4-5) in their regular season finale on Thursday, Feb. 23; while the Chieftains (15-5) head to Highland that same night for their final game.
“The conference title has been our goal since season ended last year. If we were to accomplish that goal, it would mean a lot to this group of girls, the school and the community. Their hard work is paying off and it’s wonderful to see. Each girl is playing their role and it’s a tribute to the leadership on this team. I couldn’t be more proud of a group of girls,” McGettigan stated.
Belmont…. 9 9 17 9 - 44
Highland… 10 11 11 9 - 41
Leading Scorers: Kailee Kamps 14, Molly Bockhop 14, Jordyn Kamps 6, Cassie McCarthy 4, Keegan Kamps 3, Amanda Adams 2, Kalyn Kamps 1.