Offense sharp for Belpre girls hoops

BELPRE -Offensively, Belpre girls basketball ran like a well-oiled machine.

On Monday night in a Tri-Valley Conference contest with Miller, the Golden Eagles combined for 22 assists and defeated the Falcons 85-50.

Sierra and Cheyenne Barker took care of the scoring responsibilities. Point guard Sierra Barker finished with a game-high 26 points to go with eight assists, four steals and six rebounds, while Cheyenne Barker came off the bench and connected on 8-of-9 from the floor for 22 points. The freshman was 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Belpre, which plays host to Federal Hocking on Thursday, remains unbeaten at 5-0. Miller still is seeking for its first win and drops to 0-3.

The Golden Eagles made just 8-of-18 from the charity stripe, but fortunately the outcome was never decided from that area of the floor. Their largest lead occurred at 85-47 late in the fourth quarter.

Belpre actually came out flat and fell behind 8-0 in the first two minutes of the first quarter behind a three-point play from Ali Bray and a jumper from 3-point range by Tessa Pierce.

Belpre missed its first five shots from the floor, and that’s when Sierra Barker and her teammates put on a clinic. Barker scored eight points and forced three Miller turnovers as the Golden Eagles blitzed the Falcons with a 17-2 run.

Miller didn’t go away quietly. Early in the second quarter, Bray’s jumper off an assist from Rebecca Houk followed two more free throws from Bray and eventually sliced the deficit to 25-22 with 5:40 remaining before halftime.

This time Cheyenne Barker stepped to the forefront. She drained a pair of 3-pointers and contributed eight points as part of a 14-2 spurt which left Miller trailing 39-24.

Miller managed to close within single digits one last time at 39-30, but Sierra Barker’s putback on her own miss later extended the gap to 45-30 with just under one minute showing on the clock.

Leading 45-32 at intermission, Belpre didn’t waste any time providing the dagger in the second half after knocking down its first four shots from the floor as part of a 9-2 run. The Falcons would get no closer than 18 points the rest of the way.

Bray led Miller in the scoring department with 20 points. Belpre controlled the boards by a 52-39 margin on the strength of nine rebounds from both Jackie Cunningham and Hannah Lawrentz.

Six of the top eight in Belpre’s starting rotation consisted of two juniors, three sophomores and one freshman.

“We’re still very young, especially when you think of the minutes on the floor which were played by freshmen and sophomores,” Miller said. “It was a lot of minutes.”