BERNE— Starfires’ senior Alyssa Bluhm scored 10 of the last 11 points of the game for South Adams icing the lead mostly at the foul line for the 58-45 victory over the winless Bellmont Squaws Friday night.
It was a fitting end to the senior night as Bluhm ended with a game-high 16 points including a 10-12 performance from the charity stripe that mostly came in the fourth quarter. Fellow senior Dzejna Ahmetovic was dominant early on the way to matching Bluhm with 16 points of her own.
“You hope that on senior night that your seniors will be your main contributors,” pointed out SA coach Brett Freeman. “Dzejna started off great for us and Alyssa came through finishing off the game. They’ve done an awful lot for this program getting it to where we are now.”
The other storyline in the county-rivalry was the 0-19 record for the Squaws who lost their final chance at a regular season win against the Lady Stars.
“It’s not like I look at this team and think ‘we’re not very good,’” noted Bellmont coach Andy Heim. “We need to do just a few things a lot better.”
The Squaws’ coach went on to describe what he felt his team has lacked consistently this season.
“You don’t have to be a skilled basketball player to block out and be physical. We also need to get our feet under us and be aggressive on offense because we’re a good shooting team.”
It was 4-2 Stars early after a jumper from Bellmont’s Bailey Christlieb but the Squaws would go on a drought for the next five minutes leaving the door open for a 7-0 run led by Ahmetovic who had six of the points during the run.
Courtney Scherer and Meredith Werling each had baskets late to make it 12-6 after one quarter.
South Adams held the Squaws under double digits in the second quarter as well leading 24-14 at the break.
“We got off to a good start on both sides of the ball and the first half was one of our better on defense this year,” praised Freeman. “I thought we lost some of our steam in the second half but in the last four minutes of the game we really focused in on getting the job done and the free throw line was good to us down the stretch.”
A pivotal stretch in the second came as Ryann Velez scored four straight points to spark the Squaws’ run trailing 15-14 and a steal by Scherer led to a fast break that would have given them the lead but a turnover proved costly. Ahmetovic scored a lay-up followed by a steal by Sydney Willis that led to a basket and a free throw on the foul. After another four Starfire points, suddenly it was 24-14.
Bellmont hung around within striking distance as the lady Stars led by as many as 13 in the third but the Squaws seemed to have an answer for each run but not enough to get close. Amanda Hunter hit three free throws late to make it 38-29 Stars heading into the final eight minutes.
Velez came through with another basket to start the fourth cutting the lead to seven, then SA’s Mackenzie Jennings stroked a triple to make it 43-33. Christlieb marched down the court on the next play getting the three points right back.
The lead would linger at seven points for most of the fourth as Bluhm hit a pair of free throws, then Hunter and Werling made baskets for Bellmont. Bluhm scored four straight to make it 51-42 marking the start of her tirade of free throws near the end of the game keeping the Squaws at arms length.
Scherer’s 10-footer with a minute left to play was the final two points for the Squaws cutting the lead to eight points but four free throws from Bluhm and one of two for Madison Morgan sealed the win for SA.
Despite the winless season, coach Heim was pleased with the effort of his Squaws.
“We’ve had this conversation all season long. These girls have not quit all year and they fought hard again tonight.”