BELMONT — Tenth-seeded Racine Lutheran didn’t look like the team that just endured a three-hour bus ride through the snow to get to Tuesday’s WIAA Division 5 regional quarterfinal.
Instead it was host Belmont that looked out of sync early on and the visitors took full advantage.
The Crusaders jumped out to an 11–2 lead and led throughout en route to a 46–41 upset victory.
Lutheran’s 6-foot-1 junior center Carrisa Naegeli blocked a pair of Belmont shots early in the first quarter and the Braves avoided the lane much of the night after that.
To compound things Belmont (13–10) had one of its worst shooting nights of the year.
The Braves shot just 18 percent (4 of 22) in the first half, 28 percent (14 of 50) for the game and for an 11-minute stretch that spanned the second and third quarter, managed just one made basket. Belmont also missed 11 of its 18 free throw attempts in the five-point loss.
“Losing in the first round of regionals was definitely not the way we wanted it to end,” said Belmont head coach Kaleen McGettigan. “But you can’t go 11-plus minutes with only one field goal and expect to win. We picked a bad night to have one of our worst shooting games all year.
“Racine Lutheran is a very physical team and it got to us early. Once we settled in, our defense did a really nice job and we forced 25 turnovers. We just could not convert on anything!”
Lutheran (7–16) scored the games first six points on the way to an early 11–2 advantage. Twice Belmont freshman Alie Klein cut the lead to four, but the Crusaders held 1 15–9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Belmont’s defense came to life in the second quarter and held the Crusaders scoreless for nearly five minutes, sparking a 7–0 run, that pulled the Braves within a point.
Senior Cassie McCarthy buried a 3-pointer to start the run and sophomore Keegan Kamps made a pair of free throws with 3:07 left in the half to make it 17–16.
Emily Hlavacek’s two-point basket ended the Belmont run with 2:36 left and neither team scored for the rest of the stanza.
Lutheran scored the first six points of the third quarter to extends its lead to 25–16.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Klein and Kamps in the final 1:18 of the period brought Belmont back within three at 29–26.
A basket by Klein cut the gap to just one only moments into the fourth quarter, and after forcing a turnover it appeared the Braves would get their first lead when Kamps converted a shot while being fouled in the post.
But the basket was waved off and Belmont failed to score on that possession after the foul call.
Lutheran ran off the next six points to go up 35-28.
Five-foot-4 freshman guard Rachel Hasko banked in a 3-pointer to ignite the Crusaders’ run, then she put the game away at the foul line sinking 8 of 10 from the stripe to preserve the win.
Hasko finished with 11 points in the fourth quarter and 19 for the game.
Belmont managed to pull within one at 38–37 with less two minutes to play when McCarthy and Kamps hit baskets following turnovers, but Lutheran went 6 of 8 at line in final 38.5 seconds with Hasko sinking 5 of 6.
Kamps finished with a team-high 18 points, 11 in the second half, 12 rebounds and six steals.
Klein added nine points.
McCarthy added five points and three steals in her final game for the Braves. Fellow senior Kalyn Kamps scored five points as well.
“This was quite the season for us,” said McGettigan. “We knew it would be tough replacing the three seniors we lost last year and then when we lost our starting point guard [McCarthy], we had a lot of adjustments to make. We went to a different offense and defense and once we got comfortable we really started to take off. A lot of young kids had to step up and it was nice to see how we improved through the year.
“These girls accomplished a lot of good things and they should be proud of their 13–10 record. I know I am.”
WIAA Division 5 Regional Quarterfinal
Racine Lutheran 46, Belmont 41
(from Tuesday, Feb. 26 @ Belmont)
Racine Lutheran 15 4 10 17 — 46
Belmont 9 7 10 15 — 41
Racine Lutheran (8–16) — Hasko 19, Wilkinson 4, Hlavacek 3, Sparsky 2, Aumann 2, Trevion 4, Naegeli 8, Scott 4. Totals — 12 13-23 46.
Belmont (13–10) — Keegan Kamps 18, Cassie McCarthy 5, Alie Klein 9, Kalyn Kamps 5. Totals — 15 7-18 41.
3-point goals — RL: 3 (Hasko 3); B: 3 (Keegan Kamps 2, McCarthy 1). Team fouls — RL: 14, B: 14. Fouled out — none.