Basketball

The good news was that Belgrade managed to shut down Billings West’s top offensive weapon Thursday night.

The bad news is that the Panthers had a tough time containing everyone else.

The Bears boasted 11 players in the scoring column by game’s end en route to a 70-28 Eastern AA victory. That includes a game-high 12 points by Kendall Ellis.

“They are a good team,” first-year Belgrade coach Erin Nolte said. “They have a lot of depth.”

West (5-3, 4-0 Eastern AA) features the Albrecht twins, Maddie and Willa, a pair of 6-foot guards. While Maddie tallied eight points, Willa was only able to score four.

“One of them is signed to play for the Grizzlies next year,” noted Nolte. “So we focused pretty hard on the two of them and we were able to hold the one to four points. So I would call that a pretty good defensive play, although their bench was able to come up and score a lot more points.”

Belgrade senior Hazel Eaton was tasked with the defensive assignment against Willa Albrecht, who scored all four of her points in the third quarter on a field goal and two free throws.

“Defensively we played hard,” said Nolte. “Hazel had a great game defensively. She was the one who ended up kind of holding up Albrecht to four points. So she busted her butt and did awesome defensively.”

The Bears led 20-9 after the first quarter and 38-15 at halftime. Maddie Albrecht and Ellis combined for 15 of the team’s points in the first quarter.

West went on to outscore Belgrade 26-13 in the second half. Seven players scored six or more points in the contest.

“They were able to attack us from the outside. I think they shot pretty well percentage-wise from the field,” said Nolte. “We were just trying to adjust to a new defense. We tried something kind of new on a whim and we were able to shut down their best player, but it wasn’t enough.”

Naomi Reanier led the Panthers with eight points, while Grace Garvert added six.

“She’s (Reanier) doing a good job of seeing the basket, so that’s a good thing,” said Nolte. “We need to work on finding an offense that’s going to score us points.”

Belgrade (1-8, 0-4 Eastern AA) has a week off before playing Great Falls in a conference road game Jan. 31.

Billings West 70, Belgrade 28

Belgade                     7    6    3   10  -  28

West                         20  18  14  18  -  70

BELGRADE (1-8) - Olivia Wegner 1 0-3 2, Emmery Blossome 0 1-2 1, Sarah Riley Morris 0 0-0 0, Megan Smolnikar 0 0-0 0, McKenna Morris 0 1-2 1, Grace Garvert 1 4-6 6, Noami Reanier 3 1-1 5, Hazel Easton 2 1-1 5, Sophia Flikkema 0 1-2 1, Gracie Carter 1 1-3 3. Totals: 8 11-20 27.

BILLINGS WEST (5-3) - Layla Baumann 2 3-4 7, Ryan Dolan 1 0-0 3, Bella Murphy 0 0-0 0, Laiten Lantis 1 0-0 2, Kaitlin Grossman 2 2-2 6, Kendell Ellis 5 2-2 12, Shauna Stene 4 2-2 20, Kaylee Sanchez 3 0-0 6, Maddie Albrecht 3 0-0 8, Mackenzie Rask 2 2-2 8, Megan Benton 2 0-0 4, Willa Albrecht 1 2-4 4. Totals: 26 13-16, 70.

3-point goals: Bel 0, BW 5 (M. Albrecht 2, Rask 2, Dolan 1).