MACKENZIE BURKE pulls down a rebound in action against Belmont Saturday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 12, 2017ALTON — The Prospect Mountain girls' basketball team was already without point guard Brianna Burley.
Then on Friday night in Whitefield, fellow senior starter Alyssa Spiewak injured her ankle, leaving the Timber Wolves even more shorthanded heading into their Saturday afternoon game with Belmont.
Nonetheless, the Timber Wolves found a way to get a win, edging out the Red Raiders by a 34-30 score.
"We're just going to keep trying to get better the next couple of games heading to the playoffs," said coach Rick Burley. "We're trying to find the combinations that work and we can get some rhythm."
Neither team had much going on the offensive end of things, as the first 2:20 went off the clock before Mackenzie Burke put back a rebound to get Prospect on the board with a 2-0 lead. Burke put back another rebound for a 4-0 lead before Belmont got its first hoop of the game with 2:25 to go in the first quarter. The hoop started an 8-2 run to end the quarter and went up 8-4 before Katelyn Lank hit a pair of free throws to close out the quarter with Belmont up by an 8-6 lead.
Emma Hardie hit a hoop to open the second quarter before Belmont answered with a hoop. Ali Brown tied the game at 10 but the Raiders hit a hoop and a three-pointer to go up by a 15-10 score.
Brown answered with a three-pointer for Prospect Mountain to cut the lead to 15-13 but Belmont came back with another hoop. A Tiffany White free throw closed out the first half scoring and Prospect got within 17-14 at the halftime break.
Delia Everhart opened the second half with a three-pointer to tie the score at 17 before Belmont hit a basket to take the lead again. A Brown hoop tied the score again but again the Raiders answered with a basket to go up 21-19.
Burke and Hardie hit hoops for the Timber Wolves inside and Prospect had its first lead since late in the first quarter, as they went up 23-21. However, the lead didn't last long as the Raiders drilled a three-pointer to close out the third quarter and took a 24-23 lead heading to the final eight minutes.
Burke hit the first hoop of the fourth quarter to put the Timber Wolves up by one and then Lank put back a rebound to push the Prospect lead to three. Belmont drilled a three-pointer to tie the score at 27 before Everhart hit a hoop and Brown drained a three-pointer with 4:35 to go, giving Prospect a 32-27 lead.
The Raiders wouldn't go away, as they drilled a three to cut the lead to just two but a Hardie hoop with 1:20 to go in the game gave Prospect the 34-30 lead and the Timber Wolves were able to successfully hold off the Raiders the rest of the way to get the 34-30 win.
Burley noted he was pleased with the win and the way the team has continued to find ways to win even without key pieces. But there are still things that need to be improved.
"There are just too many turnovers right now," Burley said. "That's where we miss Bri.
"But hopefully we can get them (other guards) acclimated before the playoffs," the Timber Wolf coach continued. "It's not an easy task for those girls either.
"We're trying to find our new identity, moving players," Burley added. "We've got to do it."
The Timber Wolves were led by Brown, who poured in 10 points.
The Timber Wolves will be closing out the regular season tonight, Feb. 16, at Sanborn at 7 p.m. The Division III tournament opens on Thursday, Feb. 23, at the home of the higher seed.
Burke 4-0-8, Lank 1-2-4, Hardie 3-0-6, Brown 4-0-10, White 0-1-1, Everhart 2-0-5, Totals 13-3-34
Estremera 2-1-6, Sottak 1-0-3, Antonucci 4-0-9, Chase 4-0-8, Yelle 1-0-2, Davies 1-0-2, Totals 13-1-30
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.