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Shullsburg stays atop West with a tough victory over Belmont
Shulls GBB Holland color
TOP: SHULLSBURG GUARD Cora Holland (#15) goes up and under a Cassville defender for a shot in Tuesdays game. BOTTOM: BELMONT GUARD Brook Knebel (facing camera) gets off a tough shot in Tuesdays game against Benton. Knebel finished with 13 points.

    BELMONT – Shullsburg finished off the first half of the Six Rivers West season atop the league standings after using a strong second-half surge to pull away from the host Belmont Braves, 54-40, in prep girls’ basketball action at BHS on Friday, Jan. 15.
    The Lady Miners held a slim 24-23 advantage at the intermission, and then came out and outscored the Braves in the second half, 30-17, to run away with a 14-point victory.
    “I thought that we started out with low energy, which allowed Belmont to build a solid early lead. Once we changed our effort, we were able to wipe out their lead and go into half with an advantage. I felt going into half we had weathered the storm,” commented Shullsburg head coach Nathan Russell.
    The win leaves Shullsburg (12-1 overall, 5-1 SRW– ranked #7 in Division 5) all alone in first-place in the conference heading into the second half of the season. Belmont (8-5, 3-3) drops into a fourth-place tie with Benton behind Potosi and River Ridge, who are tied for second at 4-2.
    “This team is excited about being in first-place at the halfway point, but they are not satisfied. We all understand that championships are given for the full year, not at the half. That being said, I’m very proud of this group as we look forward to completing a major goal for our year,” said Russell.
    Junior guard Hattie Rennert hit three of the team’s five 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 19 points to lead the Miners, who finished with a similar shooting percent as the Braves but attempted 16 more shots than the hosts and sank half of those shots to make the difference on the scoreboard.
    Sophomore Brianna Leahy chipped in with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while junior McKailah Strang added seven points, five assists and five steals.
    Junior Caitlyn Gilbertson scored a team-high 12 points to lead the Braves.
    Sophomore Briana Ernst tallied 11 points and nine rebounds, while junior Trinity Rucker had four of the team’s 10 steals.
    “We got off to a good start Friday night. We are breaking the press better than earlier in the season, but we still made enough mistakes to let Shullsburg back in the game and, ultimately, take the lead,” said Belmont head coach Alan Seabrooke.
    “I thought Caitlyn and Briana did a great job guarding Leahy. We were prepared to double her all night, but I felt like that wasn’t necessary. We lost Rennert a few too many times, which proved costly. Having Kassandra (Palzkill) would have helped because we did get tired. We did a lot of positive things in the game.”
    At Shullsburg, on Tuesday, Jan. 12, the 1-2 punch of Brianna Leahy and Hattie Rennert was too much for the visiting Cassville Comets to contain as the Lady Miners rolled to a 71-36 SRW victory.
    Leahy scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the first half to lead the Miners out to a 40-24 halftime lead, while Rennert netted nine points in the first half and added 10 more in the second half to help fuel the rout.
    Shullsburg hosts Highland in a Six Rivers West game on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
    At Benton, on Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Lady Braves got off to a strong start and then held on late to down the host Benton Zephyrs, 52-48, in a tight SRW affair.
    Caitlyn Gilbertson poured in 17 points to lead all scorers and she pulled down six rebounds. Kassandra Palzkill led the team with 16 rebounds.
    Brook Knebel tallied 13 points, five assists and four steals, while Briana Ernst followed with 12 points, three assists and two steals.
    Belmont has upcoming Six Rivers West games at River Ridge on Thursday, Jan. 21, and Potosi on Tuesday, Jan. 26. The Braves will also have a non-conference game at Mineral Point on Saturday, Jan. 23, starting at 2:30 p.m.

Shullsburg….  24   30 – 54
Belmont……..  23   17 – 40
    Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 4, Kindle Cook 2, McKailah Strang 7, Hattie Rennert 19, Paige Hauser 5, Brianna Leahy 13, Cora Holland 4. Totals – 21  7-16  54.
    Belmont – Abby Althaus 2, Nicole Knebel 1, Briana Ernst 11, Lydia Leahy 1, Caitlyn Gilbertson 12, Brook Knebel 7, CJ Vickerman 6. Totals – 13  11-21  40.
3-point goals– S 5 (Strang 2, Rennert 3), B 1 (B. Knebel 1). Total fouls– S 0, B 0.

Belmont……  30    22 – 52
Benton……..  21    27 – 48
    Belmont – Abby Althaus 2, Nicole Knebel 2, Kassandra Palzkill 6, Briana Ernst 12, Caitlyn Gilbertson 17, Brook Knebel 11, CJ Vickerman 2. Totals – 23  5-8  52.
    Benton – Ally Jansen 6, Montanna Burmeister 5, Emma Lawrence 13, Lily Carver 8, Kayla Dougherty 13, Payton Bastian 3. Totals – 18  8-17  48.
    3-point goals– Bel 1 (B. Knebel 1), Ben 4 (Burmeister 1, Lawrence 1, Carver 2). Total fouls– Bel 15, Ben 12. Fouled out– Bel: Gilbertson.  

Cassville…….  24   12 – 36
Shullsburg….  40   31 – 71
    Cassville – Nix 12, Bennett 2, Ortiz 8, Okey 6, McMillian 6, Johll 2. Totals – 14  6-12  36.
    Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 4, Kindle Cook 4, McKailah Strang 13, Hattie Rennert 19, Paige Hauser 6, Brianna Leahy 21, Cora Holland 4. Totals – 27  11-18  71.
    3-point goals– C 2 (Nix 2), S 5 (Strang 3, Rennert 1, Leahy 1). Total fouls– C 13, S 10.