Belpre Golden Eagle girls surpass Southern, 54-43

Belpre’s Kyna Waderker (22) prepares to block a shot by Southern’s Jaiden Roberts (10) Thursday night as Golden Eagle player Cheyenne Barker (11) watches. Belpre won 54-43 over the visiting Tornadoes. Photo by Steve Hemmelgarn.

BELPRE — A 19-4 first quarter for Belpre got the Golden Eagles off to a good start, but visiting Southern closed the gap by halftime to 11 before the two teams played an even second half as the hosts notched a 54-43 girls basketball win over the Tornadoes Thursday night.

The victory upped Belpre to 14-4 with four games left in the regular season, starting at Wahama Monday night.

Cheyenne Barker paced the Golden Eagle point-production with a game-high 25, followed by teammates Kyna Waderker with 11 and Alexandria Williams with six.

For Southern (7-8), Faith Teaford tallied 15 points, Phoenix Cleland 10 and Jaiden Roberts eight.

From a 5-4 lead in the first quarter, Belpre went on a 14-0 run-out to the end of the opening period. Trinidy King canned a trey, Barker connected on two consecutive baskets, Williams gunned in a 3-ball from the left wing, Barker had a steal for a layup and Sydney Spencer’s two free throws with 2.9 seconds left made it a 15-point bulge for Belpre going to the second stanza.

But Southern rallied back to begin the second quarter, cutting the gap to 19-11 before Belpre finally scored on a Williams 3 at the 5:05 mark. Waderker had back-to-back buckets, the second on a steal for a layup at 3:30, to boost Belpre back ahead by a 26-13 margin and a 27-16 lead at intermission.

Still though, the Tornadoes got a Sierra Cleland trey and a Teaford three-point play to make it a 29-22 game at 6:03 of the third. However, another Golden Eagle 12-3 spurt to the quarter break gave Belpre a 41-25 lead with just one period to play.

In the third-quarter run, Waderker and Barker each had five points and Abbey LaFatch two.

An 18-13 Southern fourth quarter made the final margin just 11.

“We shot well in the first quarter; we had some good open looks and when you hit those, it makes it tougher to guard us,” said Belpre head coach Chris Murray. “But Southern got better defensively at getting back from the second quarter on.

“I thought our defense was good tonight and I liked our effort, especially to see us come out and play hard right off the bat.”