Belgreen earns homecoming sweep against Vina
BELGREEN – The Belgreen girls earned their eighth straight victory as the Lady Bulldogs defeated Vina 69-36 on homecoming Friday night.
Both teams were shorthanded as Vina had only four reserves with three players out due to illness, while Belgreen was without two starters and two reserves that missed the first half because of homecoming court obligations.
"We knew ahead of time about homecoming, and it gave us a chance to start some other people, and they came out and played hard for us tonight," Belgreen coach Shauna Humphries said. "We were slow starting out, and I think it was because tonight was a different atmosphere."
Belgreen struggled with its shooting in the first half, but the Lady Bulldogs still opened the game with 9-0 run as Katy Britton drained a long jumper, Loren McVicker scored five points and Deborah Billingham found Katelin Barber for a short jumper.
Barber, who scored all 11 of her points in the opening quarter, put Belgreen ahead 20-2 with steal and layup.
Vina responded with a 7-0 run to open the second period as Victoria Coachran had a putback, Claudia Townsend hit two free throws and Jesse Norwood made a wide-open 3-pointer on the right wing to cut the lead to 20-9 with five minutes remaining in the quarter.
But Belgreen went on a 11-3 run that included two treys by Deborah Billingham and a steal and layup by Britton to go ahead 31-12 at halftime.
The Lady Bulldogs put the game out of reach in the third quarter and led by as many as 39 points.
The two starters who missed the first half – junior homecoming representative Amber Smith and senior homecoming queen Martha Billingham – came off the bench and combined for 15 points. Smith pumped in nine points in the first five minutes, while Martha Billingham added two 3-pointers and three assists.
The Lady Red Devils outscored Belgreen 14-10 in the fourth quarter as Devyn Childers scored eight of her game-high 16 points and finished with three assists and a steal.
Barber led Belgreen with 11 points, while Deborah Billingham had 10 and Smith added nine.
Elizabeth Landers (7), Martha Billingham (6), Kristi O'Dell (6), Loren McVicker (5), Kayla Williams (4), Sara McMahan, Katy Britton (4), Lydia DeVaney (3) also scored for the Lady Bulldogs.
Townsend and Norwood each had six points for Vina, while Cochran added five. Brandi White (2) and Kaitlin Gates (1) also scored for the Lady Red Devils.
Belgreen (8-0, 7-0) leads Class 1A, Area 15 heading into a Tuesday showdown with Speake, the only area team the Lady Bulldogs haven't played this season, while Vina will play Speake Dec. 13 at home.
"I think the game against Speake will come down to the wire," Humphries said. "I don't think they lost anyone from last year, and we'll just have to see what we're made of when we play them.
"I think rebounding will be crucial, and I'm sure they'll press us. That's something we've been working on in practice this week, and we have a lot of good ball-handlers. Tharptown pressed us some when we played them, but we haven't faced a team yet that will press us like Speake."
The Belgreen boys avenged an early-season loss to Vina as senior point guard Taylor Hester scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Bulldogs to an 86-66 homecoming and Class 1A, Area 15 victory Friday night.
Vina (3-5, 3-4) defeated Belgreen 49-45 in its season opener Nov. 14, but this time the Bulldogs jumped out to a 20-6 lead in the first quarter.
Belgreen (4-4, 4-3) outscored Vina 25-16 in the opening quarter led by seven points from B.J. Horton and 28-10 in the third quarter as Horton and Will Hester each scored seven.
With less than six minutes remaining until halftime, the Red Devils cut the deficit to 30-21 on two free throws from Kevin Townsend, but the Bulldogs responded with a 14-4 run that started with a behind-the-back pass from Sam Presley to Josh Quillen for a layup and included a three-point play by Brandon Hester and a three-pointer near the top of the key by Taylor Hester, who hit four shots from behind the arc.
Vina trimmed the lead to 48-39 with 4:36 left to play in the third quarter after a 7-0 run capped by trey on the left wing by Morgan McCarley, who converted five 3-pointers.
After a 6-0 run by Vina early in the fourth quarter, Belgreen maintained a 20-point lead despite a full-court press by the Red Devils and forced nine turnovers on six steals, including two by Jared Richardson. Taylor Hester drilled two free throws and then rifled a full-court pass to Hargett for a fast-break layup and a 77-57 lead with less than three minutes remaining as every Bulldog starter checked out of the game.
Ten players scored for Belgreen, and four finished in double figures as the Bulldogs made 11 three-pointers in the first three quarters. Horton finished with 14 points, while Hargett had 11 points and two blocks and Quillen added 10 points, including eight in the second half.
Will Hester (9), Brandon Hester (6), Jacob Green (4), Derrick Simmons (3), Richardson (2) and Presley (2) also scored for Belgreen.
McCarley had a team-high 19 points for Vina, while Brent Townsend had 18 and Cass White added nine, including seven points in the fourth quarter.
Keith Townsend (8), Patrick White (4), Keith Hester (4), Sammy Pardue (2) and Matthew Hester (2) also scored for the Red Devils. White also had two steals and a block.
Belgreen will play area rival Speake Tuesday, while Vina's next contest is a home game against Speake Dec. 13.