By Michael Hicks
LOVELAND — Amy Ekart scored 13 of her game-high 19 points in the second half and the Berthoud Lady Spartans returned from the Christmas break with a 46-39 win at Mountain View on Tuesday night.
Ekart keyed Berthoud’s 16-point fourth quarter with nine points and the Spartans (3-2) improved to 2-0 against 4A Northern Conference competition.
Mountain View, which was led by Alicia Abbey’s 14 points, tried to exploit Berthoud’s woes in breaking the full-court press, but the Spartans, despite still struggling at times to push the ball up the floor, held their own just long enough to score the victory.
“We still have problems. It’s a little better and we did a little better, but we still have some of the same problems,” Berthoud head coach Randy Earl said. “We’re just not mature enough on the floor to handle the pressure and do the things we’ve got to do.”
Berthoud led for most of the game. The Mountain Lions took the first of its two one-point leads at 19-18 with 6 minutes, 47 seconds left in the third quarter. Four minutes later, Mountain View went ahead 26-25 on an Erin Strumbaugh layup. But 13 seconds later Julia Perry hit her second 3-pointer of the game to give Berthoud the lead for good.
The 3-pointer bailed Berthoud out. The Spartans hit six in the game when they found it hard to push the ball inside Mountain View’s tenacious zone defense. But, for the most part, Berthoud was never able to establish an inside presence, with exception of the occasional breakdown in the zone, to attack Mountain View in the lost post.
“We didn’t. That’s one of the things we kept talking about during timeouts and halftime was that we needed to get the ball inside more and we weren’t getting it inside enough,” Earl said. “You just can’t swing the ball around on the perimeter. It’s got to go inside some time and we weren’t doing that. We kept telling the kids you’ve got to go inside, go inside. Sometimes we did that, but most times we didn’t.”
In the end, it didn’t matter.
The Spartans iced the game in the fourth when Ekart scored seven points in the span of two minutes to increase a two-point lead to 41-33 with 3:12 left. Mountain View never got closer than four points the rest of the way.
“A win is a win, doesn’t matter how you get it,” Earl said. “It builds the kids confidence. They can go home and feel good they won. And, of course, it is Mountain View. It’s a little bit of rivalry for them. So hopefully they’ll feel good about it and everything will be OK.”
BERTHOUD 46, MOUNTAIN VIEW 39
BERTHOUD 4 14 12 16-46
MT. VIEW 3 12 13 11-39
Berthoud: Megan McGinn 2 0-0 4; Amy Ekart 7 2-2 19; Julia Perry 2 0-0 6; Danielle Wikre 3 2-4 9; Rose Heaphy 2 1-4 5; Stephanie Heaton 1 1-1 3. TOTALS: 17 6-11 46.
Mountain View: Alicia Abbey 5 4-4 14; Kellie Eastman 0 1-4 1; Nekeshia Gonzales 1 2-4 4; Ali Bellinghausen 4 1-2 9; Erin Stumbaugh 5 1-3 11. TOTALS: 15 9-17 39.
3-POINTERS: Berthoud 6 (Ekart 3, Perry 2, Wikre)
FOULED OUT: None
TECHNICAL FOULS: None