By JOE SPAULDING
Van Wert found a little extra oomph in their game in the fourth period Thursday night and captured what had been a tight ball game against the Bellmont girls up to that point by a final 40-33 tally at the Teepee.
The seven-point margin of victory was the largest lead of the game for either team but was not indicative of the closeness of the game, at least for the first three periods of play.
During the initial 24 minutes, there were 10 lead changes along with five ties with the largest BHS lead coming at 4:47 of the second period when Brooke Zimmerman connected on a trey for a 15-10 edge. Van Wert owned a 24-20 advantage with 5:04 left in the third period.
With the Cougars leading 28-27 heading into round four, their defense picked it up a notch and held the Squaws scoreless for the first four minutes while adding five points for a 33-27 mark. The Squaws had a glimmer of hope with Allison Gutierrez hitting two free throws with 3:59 to play, the first Bellmont points of the period and Taylor Kuhnle followed with a hoop for a two-point game.
Erin Morrow hit one of the biggest shots of the game with a trey and the Cougars led by three at 36-33 after Gutierrez converted a Van Wert turnover into points, points that were to be the last of the game for the Squaws.
Bellmont will return to action a week from tonight as they host Columbia City in NHC action with the junior varsity tilt starting with a 6:15 p.m. tipoff.