Tri-GVC Champs

Will Johnson
Sports Editor

Seven days removed from missing out on a chance to clinch an outright Gasconade Valley Conference (GVC) title in girl’s basketball, Evin Farris’ Belle Lady Tigers got another shot at their first GVC title in 14 years with something else also on the line.

Facing Vienna’s Lady Eagles at Belle High School Thursday on Valentine’s Day, BHS was looking to retain the Maries County Advocate Girl’s Showdown Trophy for another year.

Racing out to a 19-5 lead over the visitors from the western end of Maries County, Belle went on to claim a 49-36 victory over the visiting Lady Eagles.

Reaching the 20-win plateau in the victory, Belle finished their regular season with a 20-5 mark going into this week’s Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 3, District 4 Girls Basketball Tournament being hosted by St. James High School.

Helping Belle get out to a big lead against Vienna, Baylee Cadwallader paced the Lady Tigers scoring all nine of her points in the first quarter. She was followed closely by eight tally marks in the opening eight minutes from Halle Smith.

Vienna came back in the second quarter edging Belle 13-11 cutting their halftime lead to 12 by a score of 30-18.

Marsie Messersmith helped the Lady Eagles close the gap with five second-quarter points. Jordyn Steffen and Kamryn Hayes also added three first-half points for Vienna.

Smith paced the Lady Tigers and all first-half scorers with 17 points.

More than doubling up Vienna 14-6 to open the second half, Belle found themselves eight minutes from retaining the Maries County Advocate Girl’s Showdown Trophy and a share of the GVC title.

Even though the Lady Eagles won the fourth quarter 12-5, it was not enough to overtake the host Belle Lady Tigers.

Smith led BHS and all scorers with 19 points followed in double figures by sophomore Gracie Schultz scoring all 12 of her points in the second half.

Doing all of her scoring damage in the first half, Cadwallader just missed double digits finishing with nine points.

Erin Schalk added five points for Belle while Grace Busch and Olivia Sanders each added two points to round out Belle’s scoring.

Netting nine points in the second half, Hayes led the visiting Vienna Lady Eagles with 12 points. Messersmith added a third-quarter basket to her five first-half markers giving her seven points for the game.

Kadence George chipped in six points to go along with the trio of Karissa Feeler, Jena Schwartze and Steffen who each kicked in three points.

Kendra Iven hit single free throws in the second and fourth quarters giving her two points to round out Vienna’s scoring against Belle.

Before the varsity teams faced off, Belle’s JV Lady Tigers and Vienna’s JV Lady Eagles squared off on the Belle High School gym floor.

Holding Belle scoreless in the first quarter Vienna went on to take the junior varsity contest 42-28.

Feeler led the charge for VHS in the first quarter scoring six of their 10 points.

With both teams playing to a 9-9 stalemate in the second quarter, Vienna went into halftime with a 19-9 lead.

Rachel Garro and Feeler each led the JV Lady Eagles with six first-half points.

Schalk accounted for eight of Belle’s nine first-half points.

Outscoring the host JV Lady Tigers 23-19 in the second half, Vienna held on to take the junior varsity game in eastern Maries County.

For the victorious Lady Eagles, Messersmith led them in scoring with 11 points followed by nine from Feeler, eight from Jenna Wiles, seven from Garro, three from Allison Zimmer along with two each from Logan and Schwartze.

Catching fire in the second half, Faith Gieck led Belle and all scorers with a game-high 14 points followed closely by nine from Schalk.

Susie Moman and Lauren Prigge each kicked in two points while Gracie Rehmert added a second quarter free throw for one point.

Thanks to Mother Nature, district action will start tonight (Wednesday) for Vienna at Laquey against Richland while Belle will face Steelville tomorrow (Thursday) night in the semifinals at St. James. More on district games for both teams can be seen in next week’s Maries County Advocate.