Belpre girls basketball blows by Caldwell
BELPRE — Both the present and the future of Belpre girls basketball were on display in Monday night’s home opener against Caldwell and judging by the early returns the Eagles are going to be a force to be reckoned with not only this season but for the next several seasons to come.
Senior guard Cheyenne Barker poured in a game-high 21 points, while Belpre’s freshman trio of Kyna Waderker, Kyanna Ray and Abbey LaFatch combined to score 28 more as the Golden Eagles rolled to a 62-36 win over the Redskins.
The Belpre defense forced 27 Caldwell turnovers in the game, many coming in the first quarter when they pulled out to an early 15-3 lead.
“Our goal every game is to play good defense and our girls were playing with good defensive intensity tonight,” said Belpre head coach Chris Murray. “I was really proud of our effort and thought our girls did a great job.”
Barker had the hot hand early on as she connected on a pair of three-pointers and scored nine of her teams first 11 points as the Eagles quickly pulled out to a double-digit lead.
“Coach (Murray) always tell us to go out and kill it on defense and the offense will always come and that’s what happened tonight,” said Barker, who connected on a total of four triples in the game. “Sometimes I’m off and sometimes I’m on and I’m just thankful that I was on tonight.”
Caldwell finally got on the board on a Mariah Ackley field goal late in the first quarter but Belpre finished strong on field goals by senior Daisy Cowdery and LaFatch.
The ‘Skins put together a brief run to open the second quarter as buckets by Cloe Siddle and Kelsey Zwick sandwiched a three-pointer by Ray to trim the lead to 18-7, but Belpre put things away early for all intents and purposes by scoring the final 17 points of the opening half.
12 of those points came from Waderker as the 5-foot-11 freshman took care of business both on the inside and outside of the paint.
Waderker’s basket on an assist from Barker followed by put-back bucket increased the lead to 17 before she connected from behind the arc to give the Eagles a 27-7 lead with less than three minutes to play in the half.
The freshman came up with a steal on defense and drove the length of the court for yet another deuce and after Ray’s second triple of the half, Waderker’s last minute score gave Belpre a comfortable 35-7 lead at the break.
“We are asking our freshman to step into some pretty big shoes and play some big roles on this team,” said Murray of his impressive rookie group. “They really give us some depth and although they have a lot to learn obviously they are getting it.”
Belpre out-pointed the Lady Redskins 15-7 in the third quarter to increase the lead to a game-high 36.
Barker’s 21 led all scorers but it was her prowess on the defensive end of the court that pleased her coach the most.
“Cheyenne is a good offensive threat for us and she has the confidence to shoot it,” said Murray, whose team connected on eight three-pointers in the game. “I was really happy with her effort but more importantly I was happy with how she responded on the defensive end.”
Both Waderker and Ray reached double figures in their very first varsity home game with 14 and 10 points respectively.
Caldwell was led in scoring by Lexi Weisend’s 14 points and 12 by sophomore Cloe Siddell.
Second-year Caldwell head coach Jodi Schott felt her teams inability to take care of the basketball early on doomed their chances against a very good Belpre team.
“When you have as many turnovers as we had tonight obviously things are not going to turn out very well,” said Schott, whose team will face Fort Frye on Thursday night. “I thought we played a lot better later in the game. We just can’t put our heads down we have to keep fighting and play harder.”
Belpre (2-0) will be off for a week before hosting South Gallia next Monday night.