Inside game picks up win for Lady Blue Devils over West Branch girls

Monday night in their game against West Branch, Lauren Carter and Liz Erickson put on a perfect demonstration of how Bellwood-Antis Head Coach Nick Lovrich envisioned the Lady Blue Devil offense before the start of the season.
Carter posted 18 points and was complemented by her partner in the paint, who scored 17.
“One of our goals is to pound the ball inside and work to our strengths. Our guards did a very good job of moving the basketball around, and our big girls did a good job moving to get open, and our guards found them, and they finished,” Lovrich said.
West Branch held Carter scoreless for almost half of the first quarter, but when she tallied her first basket, it was to add to a 8-4 lead, not chip away a deficit.
Erickson, Ashley Lechner and Jamie Smith helped Bellwood-Antis out to an early lead, something that hasn\’t happened often this season without the help of Carter.
“We had some girls step up and make some shots. I told the girls after Thursday\’s game that they are not freshmen and sophomores anymore; they have played enough varsity games where they can be considered second year players, and they are stepping up and starting to get some confidence,” Lovrich said.
After Carter\’s initial score, Erickson added two baskets to stretch the Lady Blue Devils\’ lead to 14-4, but with 1:35 left in the first quarter, Carter exited the game with a foot problem.
Bellwood-Antis saw their lead trimmed to 14-8, but managed to step up and avoid giving away the lead.
“Two weeks ago, if Lauren goes out like she did there, things might have gone downhill a little bit, but these girls are really stepping up, improving and playing with much more confidence,” Lovrich said.
When Carter returned early in the second quarter, she showed no signs of injury while scoring eight straight points. Brittany Webb capped off the 10-0 Bellwood-Antis run with a layup to give the Lady Blue Devils a 25-9 lead.
Erickson came out of the locker room for the second half much like she did the first, on fire.
She opened the scoring by making a jump shot while being fouled and cashing in on the free throw. After a West Branch basket, Carter and Erickson took turns driving past Lady Warriors for layups to stretch their advantage to 38-19.
Leading by 15 with less than a minute to go in the third quarter, Lechner crushed any hopes West Branch had of getting back into the game with two 3-pointers to give Bellwood-Antis a 47-26 lead, but their work was not done for the night.
“One of the goals we set before the season was to hold teams under 40 points, and the girls take a lot of pride in reaching those goals,” Lovrich said.
Leading 52-33 with 2:40 left, Lovrich left that goal up to his second stringers, and Jessica Parson, Danielle Riley, Victoria Lombardo, Amanda Ingram, Shalee Hunter and Lauren Lender did not disappoint.
West Branch managed only a layup at the buzzer to make the final score 53-35.
“The girls really sucked it up, and held them under 40. They played better defense, and that\’s what we need,” Lovrich said.
Bellwood-Antis will next be in action Wednesday when they travel to Everett. There will be no junior varsity game, but varsity action will tip off at 7 p.m.
Junior Varsity
Victoria Lombardo scored 17 points despite sitting out most of the second half in the Lady Blue Devils\’ 34-22 victory in the junior varsity game. Jannell Wilt added five points for Bellwood-Antis. Kirsten Perks, who led West Branch with nine points, combined with Jolene Wesesky, who scored seven, to account for most of the Lady Warriors\’ offense. West Branch missed 12 free throws, the exact amount of points they lost by.
West Branch 35 Bellwood-Antis 53
WEST BRANCH – Howe 2 0-2 4, Perks 2 0-0 4, Larson 6 1-2 13, Wesesky 3 2-3 8, Modzel 2 0-0 4, Parks 1 0-0 2, Sabol 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 16 3-7 35.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Smith 1 0-2 2, Webb 2 0-0 4, Lechner 3 1-2 10, Erickson 6 5-8 17, Carter 8 2-2 18, Ingram 0 0-0 0, Hunter 0 2-6 2, Lombardo 0 0-0 0, Parson 0 0-0 0, Riley 0 0-0 0, Lender 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 20 10-20 53.
Score by Quarters
West Branch 8 7 11 9 – 35
Bellwood-Antis 14 15 18 6 – 53
Three-point goals: West Branch: None. Bellwood-Antis: 3 (Lechner 3).