BELDING — Basketball games can be won and lost at the free throw line.
On Friday night, it was free throws that allowed the Belding Redskins to notch their sixth victory of the season.
Belding, which didn’t make a single field goal in the forth quarter, knocked down 9-of-10 shots from the free throw line to hold off the Cedar Springs Redhawks 36-33 in a physical nonconference game at home.
“It was a defensive battle. Those are the kind of games you love to play,” Belding coach Brad Wilson said. “Cedar Springs played really hard, but we were fortunate to pull out the win at the end.”
The Redskins (6-2) played without their leading scorer, McKenzie Breimayer, who has been out for a couple of weeks with a sprained ankle.
To be able to win with such a young team made Wilson a happy coach.
“Our starting point guard was out and I told the girls everyone needed to give a little more and pitch in to get it done,” Wilson said. “We had three or four players step up tonight and get some big minutes. Down the stretch we hit some free throws and I couldn’t be anymore happy.”
Cedar Springs (2-5) trailed to start the fourth quarter 27-20, but managed to get within two points at 32-30 with just under two minutes remaining.
Stefanie Harig hit two free throws for the Redskins for a four-point advantage. Redhawks’ Brittany Todd drained a three-pointer to pull her team within one point at 34-33 with just 24 seconds remaining.
Belding’s Monica Baylis was fouled after the inbound pass. Baylis, who had missed three of four free throws in the first half, stepped to the line and hit both shots for a 36-33 lead.
Cedar Springs’ Allie Veltkamp missed an open three-point shot. After a scramble, Molly Holtrop fired up on final shot for the Redhawks, but it was blocked as the clock ran out.
“At any given time we have two to three freshman in the game and a sophomore,” Wilson said. “We are pretty young and the fact they could come in and execute toward the end is huge for our team.”
Peyton Mount hit three free throws in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 12 points.
“Peyton had a great game,” Wilson said. “She is just a raw player right now, but she shoots the three so well. She is getting better and as her confidence grows her talent is going to grow. She is special and we are excited to have her in the program.”
Harig added 10 points for Belding, while Baylis and Greta Wilker each finished with five points.
Belding will get back to O-K Blue Conference play on Tuesday when it hosts Grand Rapids Creston at 7:30 p.m.
Breimayer is expected to be back for the game against the Polar Bears.
BELDING 36, CEDAR SPRINGS 33
Cedar Springs 9 3 8 13 — 33
Belding 9 5 13 9 — 36
CEDAR SPRINGS (2-5) — Holtrop 0 6-8 6, H. Wight 1 1-2 3, Francis 0 0-2 0, Hamilton 2 0-0 4, Veltkamp 4 2-2 11, Todd 3 2-2 9. Totals: 10 11-16 33. Three-point goals: Veltkamp, Todd. Total fouls: 16. Fouled out: Taylor.
BELDING (6-2) — Mount 4 3-4 12, Harig 3 2-2 10, Hunt 2 0-2 2, Wilker 1 2-2 5, Wood 1 0-0 2, Baylis 1 3-6 5. Totals: 11 10-16 36. Total fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.