BRITT | With tournament time just around the corner, Paul Sonius, head coach of the sixth-rated (1A) West Hancock girls basketball team, is perfectly content to face the best competition around.
The end of the regular-season conference schedule saw the Eagles host conference rival and 12th-rated (1A) Bishop Garrigan on Friday in a game that saw the Eagles overcome a slow start and use a 14-0 run midway through the second half to pull away for a 60-52 win.
It was the 18th win in 20 outings for West Hancock.
On Tuesday, Jan. 30, West Hancock senior Kelly Leerar went over 1,000 points for her career.
“What we have to do is to play the likes of Forest City, North Union and Bishop Garrigan,” Sonius said. “We were down eight and came back. That means we have the ability.”
The Golden Bears used a salty first quarter defense to take control early as they took a 12-6 lead by limiting West Hancock’s top three scorers — Kelly Leerar, Amanda Chizek and Rachel Leerar — to just one point over the first eight minutes.
The trio averages more than 43 points per game.
Rachel Leerar, a freshman guard, finally found the range in a second quarter that saw her total 11 points in the quarter, including five in the final 45 seconds, to lead the Eagles to a halftime tie.
“Those two baskets at the end of the first half were huge,” Sonius said.
The Eagles finally took control with a 14-0 run that was again sparked by a pair of Rachel Leerar baskets, this time at the end of the third quarter.
Chizek and Kelly Leerar, who had been limited to just three first-half points combined, then took over down the stretch.
Rachel Leerar finished with 19 to lead all scorers while Kelly Leerar and Chizek finished with 14 apiece.
Whitney Hovey overcame significant first-half foul problems to lead Garrigan with 16. Jenna Boelter finished with 14.
In the 61-13 win over Belmond-Kelmme, Rachel Leerar led the way with 15 points, Chizek scored 10 and grabbed nine rebounds, and Kelly Leerar scored nine to go over 1,000 career points.
Her total on Friday moved her to 1,018 for her career.