A slow start for Belton led to a solid 58-37 victory for Pleasant Hill in the first round of the Pleasant Hill Invitational Jan. 7.
“We had a rough start to the game,” Belton head coach Brad Batchelder said. “We gave up too many open threes and Pleasant Hill knocked them down. Then we missed too many easy ones. Our girls kept playing hard and never gave up. We closed the gap at times, but Pleasant Hill is such a good team, they never let us get too close.”
The Chicks started with a 19-0 run in the beginning of the game, with the Pirates finally putting in a basket by Joy Price to make the score 19-2 at the end of the first quarter.
The rest of the game, Belton kept even with the Chicks. In the second quarter, with Pleasant Hill ahead at 23-9, the Chicks went on a 7-0 run with baskets by senior guard Mallory Miller, sophomore guard Rachel Schick and a three-pointer by senior guard Kindred Wesemann to take a 30-9 advantage.
But the Pirates responded with a run of their own for six points, with a bucket from Price, senior guard Ashley Cole and junior guard Hope Alsup. Both teams scored 13 points in the second quarter, but Pleasant Hill still led 32-15 at halftime.
With Pleasant Hill ahead 38-17 in the third quarter, junior guard Jada Bates hit a three-pointer and was fouled, sinking the free throw. She was followed by a basket from Price to make the score 38-25. But Pleasant Hill still had a 43-27 advantage going into the final eight minutes of play.
“We jumped on them pretty good in the first quarter, but to Belton’s credit, they battled all game,” Pleasant Hill head coach Jim Underwood said. “I really believe we have better basketball in us. We just need to find it for four quarters. Belton is an improving team with a bright future.”
In the fourth quarter, after a Chick basket by sophomore forward Kaylene Bramwell, Belton put in two baskets, one each by freshman guard Molly Chevalier and Cole. Kindred Wesemann responded with a three-pointer and basket and the Chicks went on another run, with a bucket apiece from Schick and sophomore guard Olivia Woodruff to lead 55-31.
Pleasant Hill, 7-2, was led in scoring by Kindred Wesemann with 15 points, followed by Schick with 14 points. Kai Wesemann had six points, Sarah Hoke had five points and Bramwell had four points. Heather Hughes, Kristin Orpin, Miller and Woodruff had three points each and Emily McKee added two points.
Belton was led in scoring by Cole with 11 points and followed by Price with 10 points. Bates had six points and Alsup and Chevalier added four points each. Ladasha Hill had two points.
The Chicks took on Clinton in the semifinals Jan. 9. A victory will put them in the championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday against the winner of the Grain Valley-Odessa game. Belton faced Grandview in the consolation semifinals Jan. 9. A win gives them a chance for fifth place at 7:30 p.m. tonight against the winner of the Summit Christian Academy-Pembroke Hill game.