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GIRLS BASKETBALL W. Branch wastes little time, wins in impressive fashion



Published: Thu, January 10, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Warriors darted to a 27-2 first quarter lead against Akron Springfield.

By TODD BELL

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

BELOIT -- Some nights are like that.

That must have been what Akron Springfield High was thinking at halftime. By then, West Branch had already built a comfortable 44-10 lead and had held the visiting Spartans without a field goal.

Opposite ends: Springfield shot 0-for-14 in the first half and West Branch couldn't miss -- hitting 20-for-26 (76 percent). Of the six misses, the Warriors converted five into put backs. West Branch made 12 straight shots at one point.

That's the type of half it was as the Warriors (9-3, 7-0 Northeastern Buckeye Conference) cruised to a 70-24 victory Wednesday night at home.

West Branch scored 20 unanswered points to open the game and darted to a 27-2 first-quarter lead.

Strong first quarters have become a Warrior trait of late.

"Probably a month ago, we talked about it," said coach Chuck Campbell. "Most of last year and the start of this year we had gotten off to slow starts, but lately we have come out with a lot of confidence and solid defense and have been able to hold our opponents to a low amount and have been able to score."

Springfield (3-9, 1-6) missed its first 17 shots of the game, and when Mary Vossberg finally did connect at 3 minutes, 32 seconds of the third quarter, it was 56-15.

"I remember games where you hold a team without a field goal through a quarter, especially to start a game off," Campbell said. "But we went just over two and a half quarters without allowing a field goal, and I know we have never done that."

Contributors: Four players hit double figures for the Warriors, led by sophomore Ashley Armstrong's 13 points.

She sank three 3-point goals in the first quarter and also had seven assists for the game. Amber Metzger scored 12 points, while Tori Arndt had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Amy Beth Edie scored 10.

West Branch, which has won seven in a row, has scored more than 70 points three times this year.

"Early in the year I said that this was the best offensive team we've ever had as far as people being able to put the ball in the basket," Campbell said. "As long as we're executing our offense and everybody is on the same page as far as playing as a team, this is going to be an excellent team."

West Branch held Springfield to just 4-for-36 shooting (11 percent), and forced 20 turnovers. Even when the Spartans got shots, they were either forced or hurried.

Stephanie Burns paced the Spartans with nine points.

"Defensively these girls are starting to believe in themselves," Campbell said. "That's going to be the key as the season progresses."




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