Lady Trojans clinch NCAA League title

RUSSELL – The Beloit Lady Trojans traveled to Russell on Monday night in a make-up contest with the Lady Broncos after the originally scheduled game was postponed due to illness in the Russell school district. There was a lot on the line as the teams were playing for the regular season league championship. Beloit came from behind in dramatic fashion, finishing with a 15-6 run to end the game and take a 49-48 victory.

In the early going, the Lady Broncos jumped out to a 10-3 lead before Sydney Johnson scored inside to cut the deficit in half.

With two minutes to play in the first quarter, Russell held their largest lead of nine. Johnson answered with an interior basket to cut the lead to 16-9. Shea Larson connected on a mid-range jump shot to make it a five-point game. Russell extended the lead to 18-11 at the end of the first quarter.

Russell opened the second quarter. A three pointer from Sydney Barrett made it a six-point game, but the Lady Broncos responded with a triple of their own to hold a 23-14 advantage. Beloit responded with a mini-run with a pair of baskets from Larson to pull within five. Russell countered with a small run of their own and led 30-21 at the halftime break.

Barrett opened the third quarter for Beloit with a left wing three pointer, and Russell responded. The Lady Broncos held Beloit at arms-length through the remainder of the quarter and led 42-34 early in the fourth. With 6:38 to play, Johnson hit a right elbow jumper to close the Russell lead to six at 42-36. The shot triggered what would become a 15-6 run to finish the game. Larson scored to cut it to four. After a Russell turnover, Larson scored again on a pull-up shot to slash it to a two-point contest.

Following a Russell timeout, the Lady Broncos scored to go back up four. Johnson answered with a tough spinning hook shot off the glass. Kalista Hubert knocked down a three pointer for Beloit to take their first lead of the game, at 45-44, with three minutes to play. Larson knocked down a pair of free throws to take a three-point lead with 2:43 to play. Russell tied the game at 47 with a three pointer.

Russell retook the lead, 48-47, with a one of two trip to the free throw line. Larson scored again for Beloit to take their final lead of the game with 1:12 to play. Beloit was able to hold off the Lady Broncos in the final minute to win the game and the outright NCAA League championship.

It was the fourth consecutive league title for Beloit who was led by Sydney Johnson with 16 points followed by Shea Larson with 14 points. Breezy Schroeder scored 8 points; Sydney Barrett and Jess Meier 4 points apiece; Kalista Hubert 3 points. 

Beloit stands at 17-3 overall and 11-1 in league play. Russell dropped to 16-3 overall and 9-2 in the league. Beloit took on Smith Center in a non-league road affair on Tuesday night. See full coverage of that game in Friday’s edition of the Beloit Call.  

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