BELPRE - It was closer the second time around, but still a win for Belpre over visiting Parkersburg Catholic 54-46 in girls basketball Tuesday night.
The first meeting this season on Jan. 24 at Catholic resulted in a 66-49 victory for the Golden Eagles.
But Tuesday, Belpre, now 15-6, halted a four-game skid by draining eight treys, and played ahead the whole game except for one tie. The Crusaders, though, hung in contention throughout, helped by sinking 19 of 26 free throws.
Both teams were also minus through injury a standout player for Tuesday's tilt, Reily Sturm for PC and Katelyn Hughes for Belpre.
The host Golden Eagles opened the scoring with back-to-back 3-balls by Sierra Barker to lead 6-0 in the initial 47 seconds of play. Belpre led by eight twice in the period before Catholic tallied six of the last eight points to close to four, 15-11, at the quarter break.
Then in the second stanza, the Crusaders (5-15) notched six of the first eight points to gain a 17-all deadlock before Cheyenne Barker hit two straight treys to propel Belpre into a 23-17 lead with 2:15 left until halftime, when the Eagles held a 27-20 advantage.
The third quarter saw Belpre stretch its lead to 10 at 32-22 in the first two minutes of play. But Alex Schaffer sparked a PC surge to slice the deficit to five several times until a late run made it a eight-point gap for Belpre going to the final period.
In the last eight minutes, a 13-point Belpre lead was reduced to eight as late as with just less than 60 seconds left, but no further.
Sierra Barker led all scorers in the game with 22 points, including four treys, while Cheyenne Barker, who made three treys, added 13 for Belpre.
For Catholic, Abby Witucky netted 12 points, followed by Alexis Saunders and Schaffer with 11 each.
"I think we did a pretty good job shutting down Schaffer," said Belpre head coach Scott Miller. "But they had some other people that got things done for them tonight.
"We made more 3's, but they had more free throws. And sometimes when you rely on 3's too much, you can live or die with them, like we did in our last game. But being 15-6 with a game to go and playing in a sectional championship game Saturday isn't too bad at all."
Crusaderette head coach Marty Vierheller was "disappointed" in his team's "overall game. I felt it was sluggish."
Plus, he added that "we were lax in our defensive effort tonight, especially when it came to their three-point shooting. We just didn't recognize our responsibilities defensively."