MINERAL POINT — Belmont waited a long time to make a sectional appearance. Unfortunately, their stay at sectionals was pretty short.
Top-ranked Barneveld used a swarming full-court press to fluster Belmont from the opening tip and combined that with a balanced offensive attack to roll over the Lady Braves, 52–18, in a WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinal girls’ basketball game held at Mineral Point High School on Thursday.
The Braves (17–8) were making their first sectional appearance in 36 years and it showed early on as nerves set in allowing the Golden Eagles (26–0) to race out to an 18–4 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Barneveld’s bothersome D and Belmont’s own struggles continued to hamper the Braves throughout the game as they committed nearly twice as many turnovers (34) than points they scored (18) on the night.
Belmont opened the second quarter on a 7–0 run to trim the deficit back to 18–11, and they were still hanging with the Eagles at the intermission trailing just 23–12.
However, the second half proved to be another story with Belmont getting outscored 29–6 over the final two periods.
“I was overall pretty pleased with the first half,” said Belmont head coach Kaleen McGettigan. “We were able to get (Rachel) Slaney into foul trouble and we were able to answer their good start by ending the half only down 11. The second half really got away from us for numerous reasons. The major reason was too many turnovers. You just can’t turn the ball over that many times and expect to win against a team like (Barneveld).”
The Eagles regained complete control by outscoring the Braves 17–2 in the third quarter, and they kept pouring it on with a 12–4 scoring run in the fourth frame.
“It did get away from us, and then we started forcing too many things and started to get frustrated,” added McGettigan. “Barneveld is too good of a team to let things get away like that. It was a good learning experience for us and we hope to be back there next year.”
Sophomore guard Hannah Whitish finished with 17 points to lead the Eagles, who rolled over Gilmanton, 69–31, in the sectional final in La Crosse on Saturday afternoon to earn their second straight state berth.
Slaney, a junior, and freshman Mia Whitish each scored nine for Barneveld, while senior Danielle Straubhaar chipped in with six.
Juniors Jannie de Haan and Keegan Kamps each scored five points to lead the Braves, who went just 6-for-20 at the foul line in the game.
Senior Jordyn Kamps pulled down 11 rebounds and sophomore Alie Klein grabbed eight boards with two assists, while Keegan Kamps led the team with two steals.
“I can’t say enough about how we became a team and really started to gel as a unit,” said McGettigan. “We played our best basketball in the regional games and the experience of winning a regional championship was something we will never forget. The community was amazing during our run and sectional basketball is unlike anything else. Words can’t describe it.”
And, with just two seniors on this year’s team, hopes are running high for another great season — and maybe even a longer tournament run — next year.
“We do have a very talented group of underclassmen. We need to continue to work very hard in the off season, because I can guarantee you that every other team will be giving their all this off season,” said McGettigan. “I do think that the sectional appearance will fuel this group. They are dedicated and hungry for another run. It should be another fun season next year.”
Playing in their final prep game for the Braves on Thursday night were seniors Jordyn Kamps and Audrey Wedig.
“We will miss Audrey and Jordyn,” McGettigan said. “They were very valuable to our program. When you coach in a small D5 school, you see these kids day in and day out. They are kids who lead by example and you can only hope that the young kids of this program can follow in their steps.
“Jordyn is one of the hardest working athletes I’ve worked with. She is very quiet, but leads with her effort and determination. Audrey is one of the best leaders I’ve coached and has an infectious positive attitude. No matter the situation, she was always being a positive leader and every one of her teammates respected her.”
WIAA Division 5 Sectional Semifinals
Barneveld 52, Belmont 18
(from Thursday, March 13 @ Mineral Point)
Barneveld 18 5 17 12 — 52
Belmont 4 8 2 4 — 18
Barneveld (25–0) — Udelhofen 3, Straubhaar 6, Hannah Whitish 17, Mia Whitish 9, Fargo 3, Schave 2, Slaney 9, Carden 3. Totals — 22 4-8 52.
Belmont (17–8) — Jannie deHaan 5, Katelyn Schobert 3, Keegan Kamps 5, Alie Klein 3, Jordyn Kamps 2. Totals — 6 6-19 18.
3-point goals — Bar: 4 (Udelhofen 1, H. Whitish 1, M. Whitish 1, Carden 3); Bel: 0. Team fouls — Bar: 16, Bel: 12. Fouled out — none.