BELMONT — Belmont head coach Kaleen McGettigan could only watch from the sideline as her team lost its grip on a double-digit lead in the second half of Thursday’s Six Rivers West game with Highland.
However, she never saw her team lose its composure as the Lady Braves held on to defeat the Cardinals, 51–47, in a hard-fought prep girls’ basketball contest at BHS on Jan. 9.
The Braves (7–2 overall, 2–0 in SRW) built up a 32–19 advantage midway through the third quarter, but had to hold on tight as the Cardinals (3–3, 0–2) started to pour on the defensive pressure and whittle away at the 13-point lead.
Highland closed third quarter on a 14–7 scoring run to cut the Belmont lead to 39–33, and then opened the fourth quarter with a 13–7 run to forge at 46 all tie on Caitlin Wienkes’ basket with 2:02 remaining.
Sophomore forward Alie Klein answered quickly by burying an eight-foot jumper in the lane to put the Braves back on top to stay, and junior guard Katelyn Schobert sank 3 of 4 free throws in the final minute, 27 seconds to seal the victory.
“We’re still a young team, but some of our players have played a lot of varsity games and that maturity showed here tonight,” said McGettigan. “Our young kids made some really big plays. In our conference, there is no off-night. Highland will work as hard as any team we play. This was a good test for us.”
Belmont held a 16–9 lead after one quarter of play and used a 10–6 second-quarter run to take a 26–15 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Highland’s Brenna Bomkamp scored 10 of her team-high 13 points during the third quarter to help rally her team, but the Braves righted their ship in time to pick up their sixth straight win on the hardwood.
“(Highland) really extended the defensive pressure in the second half, which caused us to get out of rhythm and we turned the ball over a few too many times. They just outworked us,” added McGettigan. “We switched things up defensively and made things difficult for them down the stretch. It was good to see we didn’t completely fold, and we were able to close out the game.”
Junior Keegan Kamps scored 12 of her game-high 16 points in the first half for the Braves.
Klein finished with nine points, while Jannie deHaan added eight and Schobert followed with seven to aid a balanced Belmont attack.
The Lady Braves have a pair of key Six Rivers West games coming up on their schedule. First, they play at ninth ranked and undefeated River Ridge (8–0, 2–0 SRW) on Thursday, then will return home to host Potosi (4–4, 1–1) on Tuesday, Jan. 21, in a make-up game from Dec. 19.
Belmont 51, Highland 47
(from Thursday, Jan. 9 @ Belmont)
Highland 9 6 18 14 — 47
Belmont 16 10 13 12 — 51
Highland (3–3, 0–2) — Wienkes 11, Laufenberg 5, Kosharek 5, Bomkamp 13, Rose 4, Yager 9. Totals — 18 5-11 47.
Belmont (7–2, 2–0) — Jannie deHaan 8, Katelyn Schobert 7, Keegan Kamps 16, Audrey Wedig 5, Alie Klein 9, Jordyn Kamps 6. Totals — 15 12-22 51.
3-point goals — H: 2 (Laufenberg 1, Kosharek 1); B: 3 (K. Kamps 1, Wedig 1, Klein 1). Team fouls — H: 18, B: 13. Fouled out — none.