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For the most part Saturday night, the Bellmont Squaws' gas tank was running fairly smooth on 87 octane.
Unfortunately for the Squaws, their opponents, the Norwell Knights were running full tilt on 93 octane and the Knights, now 14-1 on the year, polished off the Squaws, now 7-8, by a 72-51 count at the Teepee.
With different options to choose from, the Knights engaged in race horse basketball with the Squaws for the first four minutes with baskets by Madison Schultz and Payton Schultz giving Bellmont respective leads of 9-7 and 11-10, the latter coming with 4:04 to play.
The firepower for the Wells County squad then took over as the Knights dominated the rest of the first period and ran off a 12-3 edge with a three-pointer by Mikala Quinn the only points Bellmont could offer up for a 22-14 edge.
The Norwell run continued into the first four minutes of the second period as the Knights moved their lead to 30-16 and the Squaws could never get closer than 10 for the rest of the night.
Norwell coach Eric Thornton said "Bellmont played hard against and I love that. The only way we're going to improve as a team is for teams to come out and play hard against us. Bellmont came out strong and initially put some points on the board and made us work."
Norwell center Jessica Rupright, who as a junior has already verbally committed to play college basketball at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, moved with ease inside on the Squaws and finished with 20 points to lead all scorers. She proved to be equally adept from the outside hitting a trey in the third period.
But if teams think they can try and bottle up Rupright on the inside, the Knights have a whole complement of players who are ready to step up and take over.
"I suppose if a team was going to pick its poison as to who they were going to concentrate on, they'd have to start with Jess, but everyone on this team contributes. We have others who want the ball and can shoot it well," pointed out Thornton.
That fact was evidenced with Taylor Wilson and Paige Frisch both recording twin digit games with 13 and 12 respectively while Jami Reinhard and Amanda McAfee just missed double figures with eight points apiece and Alyssa Smith added seven.
Thornton said he thought Bellmont's offensive attack caused the Knights some defensive lapses.
"We didn't rotate right by tightening up on the back side and as a result Bellmont got a lot of easy baskets underneath. We have to recognize these situations better."
Norwell threatened to run away with the game early on jumping out to a 7-2 lead but the Squaws initially stopped that run with a 7-0 burst of their own. Madison Schultz popped in a rebound effort, Quinn drilled in a trey, and another Schultz hoop from close in made it 9-7 in Bellmont's favor.
Norwell countered with three treys in the last four and a half minutes by Wilson, Frisch, and Reinhard.
The Knights outscored Bellmont 16-8 in the second period and allowed the Squaws just five shots at the basket with Taylor Kuhnle getting the only score from the field. Bellmont did have one of its better games of the season from the foul line, however, going 6-6 in the first half and finishing 16-19 for the game to outscore Norwell by three from the charity stripe.
Defensively, the Knights stopped BHS guard Dana Kaczmarek from hitting the scoring column until the 5:16 mark of the third round on a pair of free throws. Kaczmarek had a nasty collision with Frisch early in the fourth period and appeared dazed as she left the game. She did not return to action.
Payton Schultz and Madison Schultz both had good games for the Squaws inside with Payton going 4-5 from the field and 8-11 from the foul line for 16 points while Madison knocked down 6-11 from the field for 12. Kaczmarek finished with nine, Quinn had six, Sara Williamson hit four free throws, and Kuhnle and Allison Gutierrez each had two.
Rebounding stats showed Kuhnle with five boards to lead Bellmont, all coming on the offensive end. Williamson and Madison Schultz both had four. Rupright finished with seven for Norwell.
Bellmont coach Tory Fuelling noted "I was pleased with the effort the girls gave tonight. When you play a team as tough as Norwell, you have to play as hard as you can the entire game and even though Norwell stretched the lead out, our kids never quit. I thought our girls did a lot of good things out there tonight."
In the junior varsity game, Norwell took an early lead and never looked back in scoring a 54-30 triumph over Bellmont.
Olivia Geiger of Norwell and Audrey Schultz of Bellmont led the scorers in the game with 17 and 15 points respectively.
Norwell 72, Bellmont 51
2PG 3PG FT TP
Reinhard 1-4 2-3 0-0 8
Wilson 2-4 2-4 2-2 12
Frisch 4-4 1-3 1-2 12
Ailor 2-2 0-0 0-0 4
Smith 1-3 1-2 2-4 7
McAfee 3-4 0-3 2-2 8
Gerber 0-0 0-0 0-0 0
Rupright 6-10 1-3 5-8 20
Derleshon 0-0 0-0 0-0 0
Geiger 0-0 0-0 0-0 0
Louison 0-0 0-0 0-0 0
Harnish 0-0 0-0 0-0 0
Totals 19-31 7-18 13-20 72
2PG 3PG FT TP
Kaczmarek 1-4 1-3 4-4 9
P.Schultz 4-5 0-0 8-11 16
Quinn 0-2 2-5 0-0 6
Gutierrez 1-1 0-0 0-0 2
Williamson 0-1 0-0 4-4 4
M.Schultz 6-11 0-0 0-0 12
Kuhnle 1-3 0-0 0-0 2
Totals 13-27 3-8 16-19 51
Score by Quarters
Norwell 22 16 22 12 72
Bellmont 14 8 14 15 51
Officials: Steve Howell, Doug Macke, Ted Garton
Rebounds: NO 19 (Rupright 7, Reinhard 4), BE 19 (Kuhnle 5, M. Schultz 4, Williamson 4)
Assists: NO 12 (Wilson 4), BE 9 (Williamson 2, Gutierrez 2, Kaczmarek 2)
Steals: NO 8 (Wilson 2, Frisch 2), BE 2
Blocked Shots: NO 3 (Rupright 2), BE 2 (M. Schultz 2)
Turnovers: NO 12, BE 23
Team Fouls: NO 16, BE 12
Norwell 54, Bellmont 30 (JV)
NORWELL: Laken Chaney 1-1-3, Mariah Hoger 1-0-2, Kelsey Beer 3-1-8, Jalyn Kremer 0-0-0, Jessica Louison 3-0-7, Zoe Derleshon 3-1-8, Heather Sterrett 3-0-7, Sandra Buckhardt 0-0-0, Olivia Geiger 6-4-17, Carlee Harnish 1-1-3. Totals: 21-8-54
BELLMONT: Megan Schueler 0-1-1, Erin Engstrom 0-0-0, Brooke Zimmerman 2-0-4, Courtney Scherer 1-1-3, Ivy Settlemeyer 0-1-1, Ashley Piper 0-0-0, Audrey Schultz 7-1-15, Alexa Singleton 3-0-6. Totals: 13-4-30