Basketball

Benton Community enhances Wamac West girls’ basketball title hopes

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VINTON — Depending on your perspective, Benton Community is a Wamac Conference West Division contender.


Or the front-runner.


Jenna Twedt scored 18 points, and the Bobcats made their first 13 free throws in an important 49-43 Wamac victory over Class 3A 13th-ranked Vinton-Shellsburg on Saturday at Vinton-Shellsburg High School.


“There’s still a lot of basketball to be played, but we’re excited for what we’re playing for next week,” Benton Coach Jeff Zittergruen said.


Specifically, a divisional championship.


As the Wamac West race shifts to the final sprint, it’s a four-team mishmash.


Benton (14-5 overall) and Vinton-Shellsburg (15-4) both are 12-4 in conference action. Clear Creek Amana (13-3, 12-2) has the best record in that category; Center Point-Urbana is 13-4, 10-4.


Pare it down to divisional records, though, and Benton is 8-2, CCA 7-2, CPU 7-3 and Vinton-Shellsburg 6-3.


You could say the championship runs through Tiffin. Vinton-Shellsburg is at CCA on Monday, then Benton takes its shot at CCA the following day.


Saturday’s contest mirrored the league race — back and forth. The game featured eight ties — the last at 37-37 — and four lead changes.


Twedt’s fourth 3-pointer gave the Bobcats the lead for good at 40-37 with 5:20 left. After Sophia Kreutner’s drive brought the Vikettes back within a point, Benton scored the next six points — four from Alyse Harvey — to gain some separation for good and earn a season split with its county rival.


Both teams have a fair share of youth.


“We give our freshmen a hard time in practice,” said Twedt, a sophomore who connected on 4 of 6 shots from long range. “We tell them not to play like freshmen. They know how to push themselves, and that’s all you can ask for.”


One of those rookies, McKenna Kramer added seven points. So did seniors Peyton Pfiffner and Alysa Harvey. Benton made 13 of 14 free throws.


Alyssa Griffith led Vinton-Shellsburg with 11 points and seven rebounds. Brylee Bruce and Ashlie Meyer added eight points apiece. All three are sophomores.


“I loved our effort, and (Benton) matched that effort,” Vikettes Coach Rich Haisman said. “We just didn’t finish enough. But the thing I love, the girls want a shoot-around (Sunday). They love to watch film. They hated losing this one.”


BENTON COMMUNITY 49, VINTON-SHELLSBURG 43


At Vinton


BENTON COMMUNITY (49): Peyton Pfiffner 3-5 0-0 7, McKenna Kramer 2-8 1-2 7, Alyse Harvey 2-3 2-2 7, Jenna Twedt 5-12 4-4 18, Grace Embretson 1-1 2-2 4, Emma Townsley 0-2 2-2 2, Zoey Junge 0-1 2-2 2, Abby Rinderknecht 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 14-35 13-14 49.


VINTON-SHELLSBURG (43): Kayla Griffith 1-6 0-2 2, Abby Davis 1-3 0-0 2, Lucy Howes-Vonstein 2-11 0-0 5, Alyssa Griffith 5-12 1-2 11, Brylee Bruce 2-6 4-4 8, Sophia Kruetner 2-3 2-2 7, Ashlie Meyer 2-2 4-4 8, Kalie Burke 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-43 11-13 43.


Halftime: Vinton-Shellsburg 21, Benton 20. 3-point goals: Benton 8-19 (Pfiffner 1-2, Kramer 2-8, Harvey 1-2, Twedt 4-6, Townsley 0-1), Vinton-Shellsburg 2-7 (K. Griffith 0-1, Howes-Vonstein 1-5, Kruetner 1-1). Team fouls: Benton 13, Vinton-Shellsburg 13. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Benton 19 (Twedt 5), Vinton-Shellsburg 30 (A. Griffith, Bruce 7). Assists: Benton 9 (Junge 3), Vinton-Shellsburg 7 (Howes-Vonstein 3). Steals: Benton 10 (Twedt, Junge 3). Vinton-Shellsburg 10 (K. Griffith, A. Griffith 3). Turnovers: Benton 15, Vinton-Shellsburg 12.


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