The difference between a disappointing loss to Althoff on Saturday and a wire-to-wire victory over Belleville East on Tuesday was relatively easy to explain by Belleville West girls basketball coach Seth Garrett following the Maroons 62-51 win over the Lancers.
Against an athletic East team, the shots fell. Against Althoff, the shots fell short.
Sophomore guard Chamya Darough scored 23 points while B’Aunce Carter returned to the lineup to add 13 as Belleville West ended a two game slide with a 62-51 win over Belleville East before a large crowd at Belleville West High School.
Playing in the opening game of the annual pre-holiday East-West boys and girls doubleheader, the Maroons (7-2, 2-1) made its first four shots and took an early eight point lead. Belleville East (6-4, 2-3) made several runs at the Maroons but could never seize control of the game.
“It makes a coach look smarter when the shots go in like they did tonight,” West coach Seth Garrett said. I also thought that our team effort was there for 32 minutes. We played hard against Althoff as well. We just maybe took a few possessions off.
“It wasn’t pretty, but sometimes that’s the way we have to play in order to be successful. Again, I liked our effort.”
Belleville East sophomore Kaylah Rainey scored 22 points before fouling out in the final seconds. In a matchup of elite point guards, Darough and Rainey battled to an even draw but it was Darough who iced the game for her team. Coming off an Althoff game in which the Maroons were just 9-of-23 in the loss to Althoff, the Maroons were 16 of 22 from the foul line.
Darough did most of the damage making 13 of 16 free throw attempts.
Getting eight early points from Rainey, East trailed just 15-14 after one quarter. Darough and reserve guard Brittney Walker then keyed a 7-0 scoring run as the Maroons lead grew to 22-14 early in the second quarter
But as they did the entire night, the Lancers battled back. A pair of short jumpers by Lancers sophomore Bryce Dowell cut the West lead to 26-21 at halftime.
“We kept battling and I liked our effort. But we just couldn’t get over the hump. That’s been one the things we’ve struggled with here. We keep playing hard but it just seems when we get in position to maybe take the lead or get control, we just haven’t been able to do that. It happened against East St. Louis and it happened again tonight,” East coach Amanda Kemezys said.
“Maybe its our youth. We’re still very yong with three sophomores and two juniors in the (starting) lineup.”
West scored six of the first eight points to start the third quarter as Carter, an athletic 5-10 sophomore who was ill and missed the Maroons last two games, scored twice and reserve Lamad’j Milton, added a short jumper.
Junior sharpshooter Kaylee Hanger then hit a 3-point jumper to end the third quarter as West had its biggest lead of the game at 41-30.
“I thought Brittany Walker came in and gave us a big lift off the bench and it was good to have B’Aunce (Carter) back after she was ill for a couple of game,” Garrett said. “She give us a little more offense in back.”
Trailing by 11 points, East would get no closer then 50-44 in the final quarter. Brittney Nitz hit a 3-point shot to bring East to within six points. But Darough made two free throws with less than two minutes left to take lead back to eight points.
West junior Sydney Thurwalker scored eight points but pulled down 16 rebounds for the Maroons. Nitz was in double figures for East with 13 points.