Girls Basketball Completes 1st Sweep of West Branch Since 2010
Louisville 48, West Branch 43
The Louisville Leopards Girls Varsity Basketball Team completed a season sweep of the visiting West Branch Warriors with a 48-43 win Wednesday Night at Louisville High School. The Lady Leopards have now won 12 straight games and improve to 12-1 overall and 9-0 in the league.
Abby Beaver hit two clutch free throws with 6.9 seconds remaining to ice the game for Louisville at 48-43. Beaver finished with a game-high 19 points, dished out a team-high 4 assists, and recorded 4 steals to lead the Leopards.
After going ahead 21-19 at halftime, Louisville closed the third quarter on a 10-2 run. Beaver spearheaded the run with 5 points and a wicked no-look pass to Sabryna Benzel who turned it into two points. The Leopards headed into the final period up 33-26.
Louisville set the tone early in the fourth quarter. Beaver snapped a pass to Grace Jackson who got a friendly roll from the rim and drew a foul. She completed the old fashioned three-point play at the line to give the Lady Leopards their largest lead of the night at 36-28. Jackson would go on to score 7 of her 10 points during the final eight minutes.
The Warriors would cut the deficit to 40-36 and got a defensive stop on the other end to snag the ball back. After a miss, the Leopard were called for traveling on the rebound giving the ball back to West Branch. The Warriors called timeout to talk it over.
Out of the break, Emily Hollifield tipped the ensuing inbound and Sarah Lairson picked it out of the air for the Louisville steal. In one smooth motion, Lairson heaved it ahead to the sprinting Beaver who laid it in the basket on the other end.
Lairson caused problems for the West Branch offense all night as she tallied 7 of the Leopards 16 steals. She also scored 7 points on the offensive end and finished with a team-high 8 rebounds for Louisville.
The Leopards would score on buckets by Beaver and Jackson to build a 46-38 lead with under two minutes to play. However, the Warriors answered back with a 5-0 run. Catie Hahn hit a three-pointer at the top of the key to start the run. Then Kaylee Manning pick-pocketed Louisville and was fouled going to the hole. She hit both free throws to cut the deficit to 46-43 with 1:04 left to play.
After several stoppages from fouls and a Leopards timeout, Louisville attempted to run out the clock. However, Brenna Rito thought differently in tipping and intercepting a Leopards pass to give possession back to West Branch.
After a timeout, the Warriors failed to connect on a game-tying three-pointer in the right corner. The ensuing rebound attempt tipped off a player wearing Green to give the ball back to the team in Blue and White. A pair of West Branch fouls put Louisville in the bonus and sent Beaver to the line for a 1-and-1 opportunity. She made the most of it by throwing down both free throw attempts to seal the game.
The Warriors were led by Manning who scored a team-high 12 points and grabbed 6 boards. Natalie Zuchowski also scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high 8 rebounds, Hahn scored 8 points, and Rito tallied a game-high 4 assists for West Branch.
With the victory, the Leopards sweep the season series from the Warriors for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Louisville now trails the all-time series 21-36 overall, but improves their record to 14-15 at home against West Branch. This is the first time the Leopards have defeated the Warriors at home since a 50-38 win on December 8, 2012.
UP NEXT: The Lady Leopards will next host the Alliance Aviators on Saturday, January 16. JV will start at 12:00 PM and Varsity will follow around 1:30 PM.
Cover Photo Taken By Jim & Laura Photography
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