Belleville East guard Bryce Dowell came off the bench to score 12 points and the Lancers’ defense held rival Belleville West in check during a 56-30 win Tuesday in a Southwestern Conference game.
Junior B’Aunce Carter, a member of the West program the last two years before transferring to East this season, led a balanced Lancers attack with 13 points while Dowell and Kaylah Rainey (10 points) were also in double figures.
The difference in this game was the Lancers’ defense. Dowell, who scored nine of her points in the fourth quarter, also played a key role on defense.
“I think she only had three points after three quarters, but that’s the kind of offensive player Bryce can be. She can score points in bunches,” East coach Amanda Kemezys said. “But Bryce isn’t just an offensive player. She is also a very good defender and takes great pride in playing well on both ends of the court.”
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East (12-7, 7-2) wasted little time in taking command against a struggling Maroons squad. Senior Brittney Nitz opened the game with with a 3-point basket while Carter and Rainey added a pair of baskets each as the Lancers took an 11-6 lead after one quarter.
Nyah Ford, Jailyn McClenny and Carter combined for 13 second-quarter points to give East a 28-14 lead at halftime. The Maroons (3-13, 2-5) would get no closer the rest of the night.
Senior Brittney Walker led the Maroons with nine points, but it was another long night on the bench for coach Clayton Fisher.
“We just have trouble scoring,” Fisher said. “A few times we executed the play well and got good looks close to the basket, but we just can’t finish. It’s been that way all year.”
In all, Kemezys went to her bench throughout the second half. Just as important as the victory was the Lancers’ execution on both ends of the court. With a month remaining until the start of the postseason, the Lancers are looking to improve in all areas.
“It’s still early January but we’re kind of starting to look a bit towards the postseason and improving our execution in all areas of the game,” Kemezys said. “We’re going to work on some things and hope to be at our best when it’s time for the regional tournament. That’s when it really counts.”