ALMA — During the pregame warmups, the Lakeview Wildcats seemed to be shooting the ball pretty well.
They definitely did not waste any shots prior to the game, especially senior Andrea Henry. Henry scored a game-high 25 points, while leading the Wildcats to a 59-43 district opening win over the Belding Redskins on Monday night at Alma.
Henry drained five of the Wildcat’s seven three-pointers in the win.
“Andrea Henry put us on her back and carried us,” Lakeview coach Dave King said. “She is a senior and she does not want to stop playing basketball. Since we’ve lost Megan (Leach), she has stepped up and taken a huge leadership role. She works her tail off and is a good kid.
“Other girls stepped up too,” he added. “Senior Chelsea Lint shot the ball well. And we need that.”
Lakeview (15-6) had a slim 26-25 lead at halftime, but opened the game in the third quarter by outscoring the Redskins 19-9.
Stefanie Harig gave Belding the lead quickly into the fourth quarter 27-26. Henry answered with back-to-back scores to give the Wildcats a 30-27 lead, one they would never give up again.
The two shots by Henry started a 15-4 run to give Lakeview a 45-31 lead.
“We played much better defensively and rebounded better in than we did in the first half,” King said. “Again, we just hit some big shots. It was a run of points, but it wasn’t a small stretch. We just kept building on the lead.”
“They shot the ball really well and you have to give them credit. They are a good team and key players hit shots when they needed to,” Belding coach Brad Wilson said. “The game got a little away from us and we couldn’t get it back. We had a difficult time shooting free throws, too.”
Lakeview sealed the game by hitting 6-of-8 free throws, while the Redskins made just 4-of-11 in the fourth quarter.
“We were lucky. They (Belding) missed some open looks throughout the game, that I think they quite often make,” King said. “It helped out with the free throw shooting, but we still made too many fouls.”
Lint finished the game with 10 points, while Maddie Shurlow added seven points.
King was expecting a close game and it was during the first half of play.
“Anytime you win a game like that, which could have been a toss-up, you feel really good,” King said. “I have some film on Alma. We will have to bring it again on Wednesday.”
Belding led 12-10 after the first quarter.
“I think we had a chance to pull ahead in the second quarter, but again free throws,” Wilson said. “Free throws has been our achilles heel all year, but every time we got ahead they hit a three-pointer.”
Peyton Mount led the Redskins with 12 points, while Harig followed in 11 points.
“We will learn from it,” Wilson said. “We are a very young team and we have a lot of girls coming back. We are excited about that and we will get better from this.”
Belding finished the season with a 9-12 record.
Lakeview will face host Alma on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the district semifinals. Central Montcalm will battle Shepherd in the second game for the right to go to the district final.
LAKEVIEW 59, BELDING 43
Lakeview 10 16 19 14 — 59
Belding 12 13 9 9 — 43
LAKEVIEW (15-6) — Henry 9 2-2 25, Cornell 1 4-4 6, Molitor 1 2-2 4, Jaquays 1 0-0 2, Lint 4 1-1 10, Shurlow 1 4-6 7, Nielsen 0 1-1 1, Massie 2 0-0 4. Totals: 19 14-16 59. Three-point goals: Henry 5, Lint, Shurlow. Total fouls: 18. Fouled out: Jaquays.
BELDING (9-12) — Breimayer 2 2-3 7, Mount 4 2-3 12, Harig 4 2-2 11, Hunt 1 0-2 2, Wilker 0 2-2 2, Batzer 0 1-2 1, Wood 1 0-3 2, Baylis 2 2-4 6. Totals: 14 11-21 43. Three-point goals: Mount 2, Breimayer, Harig. Total fouls: 15. Fouled out: Breimayer, Harig.