Created on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 Written by MATT HAMMOND
Greenon strikes early to beat BHS in sectional semifinal
Bellefontaine’s Regan Price eyes the basket during the second half of Tuesday’s Division II sectional tournament game against Greenon at Tecumseh High School. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)
NEW CARLISLE — Bellefontaine wanted to establish an inside game against Greenon on Tuesday, but it was the Knights who were able to dominate the paint.
Emily Cale, a 5-10 senior forward, and Heather Slaughter, a 6-1 senior center, combined for 25 points as the fourth-seeded Knights pounced on the sixth-seeded Chiefs for a 61-52 win in a Division II girls sectional semifinal at Tecumseh High School.
Few opponents have been able to match Bellefontaine’s size and strength inside this season, but the Knights (17-6) used a precision passing and cutting attack to routinely score from point-blank range.
“They did a good job of over-rotating early and we didn’t do a good enough job on the back side,” said BHS head coach Brian Hogan. “The girls on the back side finished for them.”
Tuesday’s game was a rematch of a regular-season contest in which Greenon won 50-46 in early December.
“The whole game felt like deja vu,” said Hogan. “It was just like the first game against them. We didn’t shoot the ball well from the field and at the free-throw line. Give Greenon credit. They did some good things.”
Bellefontaine shot 30 percent from the field, 27 percent from three-point range and 50 percent at the foul line.
The Knights, who made 47 percent of their shots from the field, opened the game with a 10-0 run and went on to lead 17-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Bellefontaine started to warm up in the second quarter, but Greenon was able to maintain a double-digit lead (29-18) at halftime.
The momentum stayed on Greenon’s side in the third period as the Knights led by as many as 17 points. They held a 45-32 lead going into the final quarter.
Bellefontaine was able to whittle away at the Knights’ lead in the final few minutes of the game. The closest the Chiefs came was six points (58-52) with 21.3 seconds remaining.
Greenon made 3-of-4 foul shots in the final 20 seconds to ice its win.
Sophomore guard Brenda Johnson was impressive for Bellefontaine in the loss. Johnson scored a game-high 20 points.
“I expect more out of Brenda sometimes, but then I forget that she is still a sophomore,” said Hogan. “If she continues to progress she will be pretty good when it is all said and done.”
Senior guard Sajah Carter also had a standout performance for the Chiefs with 16 points.
The Knights limited Bellefontaine’s inside duo of Whitney Rader and Jazmyn Haley to six points apiece.
“We told the girls at halftime that we needed to get the ball inside more,” said Hogan. “I thought we did a better job in the second half, but we didn’t do it quite enough.”
Cale led Greenon with 15 points. Jenna Robertson had 14 points, Lianne Masquelier had 11 and Slaughter added 10.
Despite Tuesday’s loss, Bellefontaine enjoyed a breakthrough season this winter. The Chiefs finished with a record of 15-9, winning the most games in a season since the 1996-97 squad won 23.
“It all starts with our seniors,” said Hogan. “They were sophomores when I took over and they have always been willing to do whatever it took to get the program back on track. They were able to see the fruits of their labor this season. I am very proud of them and, hopefully, our younger girls can carry it on.”
Greenon advances to play top-seeded Carroll in the sectional final Saturday. Carroll beat Urbana 73-38 on Tuesday in its semifinal contest.
GREENON 61, BELLEFONTAINE 52
Carter 7 0-0 16; Price 0 2-4 2; K. Haley 1 0-0 2; Johnson 7 3-4 20; J. Haley 3 0-0 6; Rader 2 2-6 6. Totals: 20 7-14 52.
Cale 6 3-5 15; Masquelier 3 4-7 11; Miller 2 2-5 7; Robertson 3 7-9 14; Slaughter 4 2-2 10; Burson 1 0-0 2; Robinson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 18-28 61.
Chiefs 3 15 14 20 — 52
Knights 17 12 16 16 — 61
Three pointers: Bellefontaine 5 (Johnson 3, Carter 2); Greenon 3 (Masquelier, Miller, Robertson). Rebounds: Bellefontaine 22; Greenon 26. Turnovers: Bellefontaine 12; Greenon 12. Team fouls: Bellefontaine 18; Greenon 9.