BELDING — The Lakewood Vikings girls basketball team came out firing. And they were hot.
Lakewood (8-10) jumped out to a double-digit first quarter lead and was able to fend off a late charge in a 56-47 victory over the Belding Redskins on Tuesday night.
Junior Maddie King led the quick charge with a pair of three-pointers as the Vikings jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the first quarter. King finished with a game-high 25 points.
“She is solid for us and stepped up huge,” Lakewood coach Denny Frost said. “She was aggresive and a big factor late.”
Belding (4-13) reeled off six straight points to pull within 10-6 midway through the first. Emily Kutch added to King’s quick start with seven of her own points as the Vikings led 19-8 after the first quarter.
“They came out and played really well. They hit everything they threw up,” Belding coach Mike Nelson said. “Our start could have been better, but I didn’t think that our start was terrible. They were on fire.”
The Redskins increased their defensive pressure in the second quarter with some tight man-to-man. Belding won the quarter 13-12 to trail by 10 at halftime.
“We went back to man (-to-man) in the second quarter,” Nelson said. “The kids settled in and played much better.”
“We were a little lackluster early,” Frost said. “We got off to a quick start, but then our energy level on the defensive end let up.
“I give Belding credit. They hit some threes and played hard,” he added.
Both teams were hot in the third quarter as they combined for 15 field goals.
The Redskins, behind the play of sophomore guard McKenzie Breimayer, trimmed the Vikings lead to 48-44 after the end of three quarters.
Breimayer scored 11 of her team-high 16 points in the third quarter rally. Breimayer, though, fouled out in the fourth quarter and the Redskins struggled offensively the rest of the game.
“We had a great third quarter and played really well,” Nelson said. “When we lost McKenzie that hurt us. We just weren’t able to mount any offense.”
King opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer and the Vikings never looked back.
Lakewood held the Redskins to one field goal and a free throw in the decisive fourth quarter to hold on for their eighth win in 10 games. The Vikings began the year 0-7.
“We talked about getting out on their threes and making them penetrate,” Frost said of his team’s fourth quarter defense. “We did a good job of helping. We got more active defensively and we were in better positions.”
Kutch finished the game with 13 points while Hannah DeJong added 10.
The Redskins shot just eight free throws. They typically shoot around 20 free throws a game.
“There were some good things I saw with the kids,” Nelson said. “It’s frustrating for them, they put the effort in, but Lakewood is a good team.”
Stephanie Harig scored 10 points and Caitlin Alkire added seven for the Redskins.
Belding is off Friday, but will host three games next week. Tuesday they face Cedar Springs, Saugatauk on Wednesday and Coopersville on Friday to wrap up the regular season.
Lakewood 19 12 17 8 — 56
Belding 8 13 23 3 — 47
LAKEWOOD (8-10) – Wieland 1 0-1 3, King 10 2-5 25, Kutch 4 5-8 13, Jemison 1 0-0 3, DeJong 5 0-0 10, Hilley 1 0-1 2. Totals: 22 7-15 56. Three-point goals: King 3, Wieland, Jemison. Total fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.
BELDING (4-13) – Breimayer 6 1-1 16, Silvernail 1 0-0 3, Alkire 3 0-0 7, Harig 4 2-5 10, Hunt 1 1-2 3, Reminga 1 0-0 2, Wekenman 3 0-1 6. Totals: 19 4-8 47. Three-point goals: Breimayer 3, Silvernail, Alkire. Total fouls: 17. Fouled out: Breimayer.