BETHALTO - Highland and Civic Memorial are always tough opponents in girls basketball and Thursday night was no different at Bethalto, with the Bulldogs slipping by the Eagles 52-46.

Highland’s head basketball coach Mike Arbuthnot is excited that his group of athletes walked away from Civic Memorial with a huge Mississippi Valley Conference win.

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“This was a big win because now, we get Triad and CM back at our place in the second half of the season,” Coach Arbuthnot said. “It’s so much to say for these kids. They hung in there and just really played their hearts out."

For CM coach Jonathan Denney, the evening’s match was generally disappointing for him and perhaps more so for his team.

“I’m just disappointed in our energy and our overall effort,” Coach Denney said. “I think we play hard in spurts and it hasn’t been an all-the-time thing. Our efforts has to be an all-the-time thing for us to be successful.”

Coming off of a three-game win streak after appearances against Jersey Community, Waterloo and Centralia High Schools, the Bulldogs came out fast in the first, quickly scoring the first basket courtesy of junior Madison Wellen. After being fouled against, CM junior Allie Troeckler landed a free throw to trail by one. Wellen scored again, doubling her team’s score to 4. Her teammate senior Amanda Ponce went on the offensive to land another two-point shot to the Bulldogs’ favor. She also nailed a clean three-pointer to bring the Bulldogs’ score to 9.

After a foul, CM freshman Maisey Watson landed a free point off of the line, trailing behind the Dogs at 2.

After Highland senior Caitlin Lammers knocked her first ball of the night to bring her team’s score to 11, the Lady Eagles made an offensive push courtesy of senior Journey Coffman landing a three-pointer. Shortly afterward, sophomore Alaria Tyus and Troeckler each scored two points each. Sophomore Kaylee Eaton followed her teammates’ push with a three-point shot herself to bring the Lady Eagles into the lead at 12-11.

The Bulldogs weren’t finished yet. Lammers landed a basket herself before CM’s Eaton could make a free throw shot. With that play, the score was then tied at 13-13. Highland rose above the Lady Eagles by having Ponce score bonus shots at the line and another two-point play.

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At the end of the first, the Bulldogs led CM 18-13.

Highland started out the second period by junior Abby Melosi bringing in a three-point shot. In a quick rebuttal, Eaton also brought in a three-pointer. Ponce then scored two for the Bulldogs. CM’s Troeckler attempted to push her team to become stronger offensively but could only bring in two more points before Ponce could land another two-point shot. With the Bulldogs leading 25-18, they called a time out to evaluate.

The time out seemed to be more beneficial for the Lady Eagles. Troeckler brought her team’s score up to 20 points, further narrowing the margin point-by-point. After Highland’s Ponce scored her final two-point shot of the period, CM’s Eaton and Coffman closed the gap with a three-pointer each and allowed their team to end the period narrowly trailing the Bulldogs by one with a score of 27-26 at the buzzer.

When the teams came back onto the court to begin the third period, junior Alex LaPorta brought in her first two points of the game to further Highland’s lead. With a great three-point shot by Tyus, the Lady Eagles tied the game at 29-29. The inevitable back and forth that comes with tied games definitely occurred. To begin the pattern, Highland junior Hayley Taylor and her teammate Melosi each scored two. Before the other could land the basket, Troeckler was there with the rebuttal each time, tying the score at 31 and 33 consecutively. Another two-point shot by Troeckler to bring her team’s score to 35, the Eagles offense fell flat and Highland brought in five consecutive points from a two-point shot from junior Katie Kampwerth and two free-throw points from Ponce.

At the end of the third, the Bulldogs led the Lady Eagles by two with a score of 37-35.

In pattern with the night’s events, Highland scored first to begin the fourth period with a two-point shot from Taylor. Offensive powerhouse Troeckler brought in two points attempt to narrow the margins. Unfortunately, the Highland offense seemed to be too strong, scoring back-to-back baskets from junior Breanna Frahm and Lammers to lead with a score of 43-37.

Once again, Troeckler brought in two more points before Lammers could score once more and before LaPorta could land a free-throw point from the line. Before the second to last time out called in the game, the Highland Bulldogs led the Lady Eagles 46-39.

With just about five minutes left of the period, Troeckler seemed to be the only person who could make some offensive magic occur on the court. Quickly after she brought in two for the Eagles, Wellen landed two points from free-throws for Highland. In a deja-vu-like episode, Troeckler knocked in another two points from free-throws herself. After Lammers scored one of two free point shots, Troeckler came back yet again with two more points for the Eagles. Before the final timeout was called, with 28.8 seconds to go, Troeckler scored two more before a whistle was blown for a foul committed on number 23 herself. She landed one final point for the Eagles in the free-throw opportunity.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they were all out of time. A foul on Highland’s ponce earned them two more points to extend the lead and end the game with a score of 52-46 at the final buzzer.

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