BELDING — It was supposed to be a perimeter battle between two of the area’s top point guards.
Belding’s McKenzie Breimayer and Carson City-Crystal’s Mikayla Duflo went head-to-head on Monday night with the Eagles coming out on top 44-37 in a game that was played mostly inside.
The Eagles (3-1) used their size advantage to score a majority of their points in the paint, especially in a 16-8 deciding fourth quarter.
“I thought we had an advantage on the post play against Belding,” Eagles coach Larry Farmer said. “They are athletic at all positions, but I thought I had more players in the post that could help.”
In addition to size, aggressiveness, which wasn’t always there, helped the Eagles.
“I thought when we increased the pressure, kind of trap a little more, it made us more aggressive,” Farmer said. “I thought we were a little passive for a while and a little scared to make a mistake. We became aggressive and turned the game around.”
Led by Breimayer, the Redskins (2-2) turned a five-point halftime deficit into a one-point lead after three quarters 29-28.
“We are pretty small and we don’t have a lot of great size,” Belding coach Brad Wilson said. “We have a sophomore that’s 5-11, but short of that we are tiny and not very strong. We are also very young.
“We try to speed things up and get easy buckets, but when they can slow the ball down so well on both sides, it really hurts,” he added.
Tori Christiansen, Hailey Geister and Mackenzie Geister combined for 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Eagles outscored the Redskins 16-8 in the final quarter for the come from behind win.
“They got the ball in the post and it didn’t matter who they were posting up, they were successful,” Wilson said. “That hurt us a lot. They played a great game.”
Duflo — the Eagles leading scorer — was blanketed all night by Breimayer.
“She (Duflo) is a great player and we saw right away she could take a game over,” Wilson said. “I felt like (Mc)Kenzie defended her well and contained her as best she could. We wanted to make other players beat us and unfortunately that was the outcome.”
Farmer, expecting most teams to focus on Duflo, was happy to see a balanced attack.
“That is the balance I’m hoping to create,” Farmer said. “Then another team can’t key one player. You can always stop one player or one action, but tonight showed we have some balance on our team.
“It’s good to see other players stepping up. I think they all take pride in their games and are confident in their games,” he added.
Duflo finished the game with eight points. Farmer said Duflo is about winning and not how much she scores.
“For Duflo, it’s not about how many points she gets,” Farmer said. “It’s about the team. That’s a nice thing about all the girls, they are unselfish and does what it takes to help the team. Duflo is OK with what the other team will give us and take advantage from there.”
Breimayer finished with a team-high 11 points. Stefanie Harig added eight points and Rachel Hunt six points.
“It’s not the way we wanted to finish, but I felt like we played well at times,” Wilson said. “We came together better as a team, which is something we wanted to do. A lot of girls were able to contribute instead of just a few.”
Hailey Geister finished with a game-high 13 points. Mackenzie Geister added 11 points and Christiansen six points.
Belding will host Vestaburg on Wednesday, while Carson City is home against Ashley on Friday.
CC-CRYSTAL 44, BELDING 37
CC-Crystal 8 11 9 16 — 44
Belding 7 7 15 8 — 37
CC-CRYSTAL (3-1) — Ward 1 1-3 3, Donahue 1 0-0 3, Duflo 2 2-2 8, Christiansen 3 0-0 6, H. Geister 5 3-5 13, M. Geister 5 1-2 11. Totals: 17 7-12 44. Three-point goals: Duflo 2, Donahue. Total fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.
BELDING (2-2) — Breimayer 3 4-6 11, Harig 3 1-3 8, Hunt 2 1-2 6, Batzer 1 0-0 3, Wood 2 0-0 4, Baylis 2 1-2 5. Totals: 13 7-13 37. Three-point goals: Breimayer, Harig, Hunt, Batzer. Total fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.