HIGHLAND — Senior Briana Ernst poured in 15 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, including a 7-of-8 effort from the foul line, to lift the visiting Belmont Braves to a 56–45 victory over Highland in a Six Rivers West girls’ basketball game at HHS Saturday.
The Lady Braves (2–4 overall, 1–1 SRW) trailed 24–21 at the half, but had Ernst and fellow senior Kassandra Palzkill (nine points) combine to outscore the Cardinals (2–5, 1–2) in the second half to rally their team to victory.
“Saturday’s game at Highland was a sloppy game,” said Belmont head coach Alan Seabrooke. “The number of fouls made it hard to get into a rhythm. We struggled in the first half, as we have done all year, and trailed at halftime.”
Junior guards Abby Althaus and Nicole Knebel teamed up to score 12 of the Braves’ 21 points in the first half to help keep it close at the intermission.
“We turned the ball over too much in the first half and took too many bad shots,” said Seabrooke. “We did a much better job taking care of the ball in the second half, and that led to better shots and more points. Defensively, we slowed down their top scorers. The key to the victory was less turnovers, but also our never-give-up attitude.”
Palzkill finished with 11 points and Althaus chipped in with 10, while Knebel netted seven points and Callie Wiegel added five for the Braves, who won despite connecting on just 13 of their 30 free throw attempts on the night.
Morgan Kosharek scored 13 points and Madalyn Drury tallied 12 to lead Highland, who finished just 13-of-26 at the foul line.
Last Tuesday at Belmont, Potosi senior Abby Kaiser went off for a game-high 32 points to carry the visiting Chieftains over the Lady Braves, 67–45, in their SRW opener.
Kaiser tallied 10 points in the opening half to lead the Chieftains (4–0, 2–0) out to a 32–17 advantage at the intermission, and then she pumped in another 22 points in the second half, including an 8-for-8 performance from the free throw stripe, to keep the guests comfortably in the lead the rest of the night.
“Potosi has a pretty balanced starting five, led by possibly the best player in the conference in Abby Kaiser. They are hard to match up with,” commented Coach Seabrook. “After watching film, I felt like our defensive plan in the first half worked pretty well, but we gave up too many second chance points. They also got several easy baskets off turnovers.”
Ernst led Belmont with 20 points. Palzkill contributed six points and Knebel added five for the hosts.
Belmont has a Six Rivers West game at Cassville on Tuesday, Dec. 19.
Belmont 56, Highland 45
(from Saturday, Dec. 9 @ Highland)
Belmont 21 35 — 56
Highland 24 21 — 45
Belmont (2–4, 1–1) — Abby Althaus 10, Nicole Knebel 7, Kassandra Palzkill 11, Briana Ernst 22, Callie Wiegel 5, Chelsey Douglas 1. Totals – 20 13-30 56.
Highland (2–5, 1–2) — Mueller 1, M. Kosharek 13, C. Kosharek 6, Esser 6, Drury 12, Hennessey 7. Totals – 16 13-26 45.
3-point goals — B 3 (Althaus 2, Wiegel 1), H 0. Total fouls – B 20, H 24. Fouled out – H: Hennessey.
Potosi 67, Belmont 45
(from Thursday, Dec. 7 @ Belmont)
Potosi 32 35 — 67
Belmont 17 28 — 45
Potosi (4–0, 2–0) — Abby Kaiser 32, Justice Udelhofen 3, Lily Post 2, Brittany Horner 10, Amber Udelhoven 8, Sophie Langkamp 9, Hannah Udelhoven 3. Totals — 23 19-26 67.
Belmont (1–4, 0–1) — Abby Althaus 2, Elsie de Haan 3, Nicole Knebel 5, Kassandra Palzkill 6, Briana Ernst 20, Kylie Crapp 3, Sadie Willborn 4, Chelsey Douglas 2. Totals – n/a 45.
3-point goals — P: 2 (Horner 1, Langkamp 1), B: n/a. Team fouls — P: 24; B: n/a Fouled out — P: Horner.