MOUNT STERLING, Ill. -- The youthful mistakes the Brown County girls basketball team made during the opening two weeks of the season are being replaced by smart decisions late in close games.
That was evident Wednesday night.
Belle Koch and Macy Blentlinger combined to go 9 of 9 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter as the Hornets overcame an 11-point second-half deficit and posted a 58-54 victory over Unity.
"We took care of the ball when we made our run," said Brown County coach David Phelps, whose team has won three games in a row. "Unity does a lot of things well. They touch a lot of passes and mix things up on you. We did a much better job of spacing and giving ourselves a chance to make the ball. We spread it around and made some smart decisions."
The Hornets (5-3) trailed by 11 points midway through the third quarter before Blentlinger made a pair of 3-pointers to kickstart a run that pulled Brown County within 40-37 heading to the fourth quarter. Blentlinger finished with 19 points, 12 in the second half.
"She was maybe even better on the defensive end," Phelps said. "This was the best game she's played this year and maybe in a couple of years."
Koch finished with 19 points, scoring seven in the fourth quarter and going 9 of 10 from the line overall. Katey Flynn added 10 points.
Addi Eger led Unity with 20 points, although she was limited to just two in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs were just 5 of 12 from the free-throw line.
Pirates fall in tourney semis
The Fort Zumwalt East girls basketball team didn't make many free throws, but the Panthers made enough to hold off Hannibal in the fourth quarter and post a 60-53 victory in the semifinals of the Winfield Tip-Off Classic.
Fort Zumwalt East went 5 of 11 from the line in the fourth quarter and 11 of 24 overall, but L. Benan scored six of her 23 points in the third quarter to give the Panthers a six-point cushion.
Kaylee Falconer scored eight of her 15 points in the fourth quarter for Hannibal, while Emma Deien finished with 12, although she was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.
QUEEN CITY, Mo.
Eagles' defense dictates outcome
The Knox County girls basketball team held North Shelby to six points in each of the first two quarters and earned a 48-42 victory in the Tri-Rivers Classic at Schuyler County. The Eagles went 11 of 19 from the free-throw line in the second half to help stave off the Raiders' comeback.
Riley Strange led Knox County with 12 points, while Jaiden Linebaugh and Daniela Dooley had nine points apiece. Presley Stoneburner scored 12 points for North Shelby, while Caroline Linberger added 10 points.
Rockets' defense diffuses Suns
The Rushville-Industry boys basketball team outscored Southeastern by 13 points over the second and third quarters combined and rolled to a 60-43 victory. The Rockets took control with a 14-point second quarter in which Ethan Eskridge scored eight of his game-high 21 points. He hit five 3-pointers, three in the second half.
Sam Stephens led the Suns with 18 points, going 6 of 6 from the line.
QUEEN CITY, Mo.
Balance carries Raiders
The North Shelby boys basketball team didn't have a player score more than seven points individually, but the collective effort led to a 43-31 victory over Schuyler County in the Tri-Rivers Classic. JD Rich led the Raiders with seven points, while Dayton Mettes, Silas Presson and Elijah Geisendorfer had six points apiece. The Rams were limited to 11 points in the second half.
Pirates split pair of duals
The Hannibal wrestling team bounced back from a dual loss to Jefferson City Helias to knock off Warrenton and earn a split. The Pirates lost 52-23 before rebounding with a 36-30 victory. Trevor Wilson earned a major decision against Helias, while Jameson White and Cameron Foust each earned a decision.
Against Warrenton, Mason Hudson, Matt Wilson, Nathan Messina, Brady Zimmerman and White all won matches, while Trevor Wilson and Shawn Smashey picked up forfeit victories.