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Cards upset Belleville in OT
Times photo: Adam Krebs Brodheads Amanda Pickel drives to the hoop against Belleville defender Alexis Freidig in the first half Tuesday.
BRODHEAD - In a game that resembled more of a March playoff affair than a January non-conference contest, Brodhead found a way to knock off one of the best teams in the state in Belleville.

Trailing 37-36 with under 1:05 left in overtime, Cardinals sophomore Taylor Douglas scored in the post on an offensive rebound to give Brodhead its final lead.

"That's just Taylor being Taylor," Brodhead coach Brad Pickett said. "She's our point guard, but she does everything - rebounds and plays defense."

Freshman Rachel Heller hit a free throw with 1.3 seconds left for good measure and the Cardinals escaped with a 39-37 victory.

"It's great," Brodhead senior Mariah Mohns said of beating Belleville. "We stepped it up and played great defense."

Belleville, ranked No. 8 in the state in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls, opened the game on a 10-0 run. But the Cardinals came back and held several leads throughout the contest, including by five (31-26) with just over four minutes left in regulation.

"We had to keep our composure," Douglas said. "We've been in close games before this year and we know this was Belleville. We wanted to keep our focus and intensity. We never gave up."

The Wildcats (8-2, 3-0 Capitol South) crawled back into the game and took a 32-31 lead with 29.4 seconds left on a hoop and harm by Alexis Freidig. Brodhead's Mariah Mohns hit the front end of a bonus with 18.6 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

"It wasn't easy, but we played well," Pickett said. "Those four games we've lost by a total of six points really helped us in this game. It was a situation we've been in before."

The early game struggles were erased quickly. Pickett called a full timeout with 3:17 left in the first with his team still scoreless. Carley Mohns scored in the post as quickly as play resumed and Mariah Mohns then hit a 3-pointer. Mariah Mohns hit a second 3 with two seconds left in the first to bring the score to 14-10.

"We didn't look at the scoreboard," Douglas said. "We hit some big shots in the beginning and then at the end."

The Cardinals continued the run in the second, scoring the first six points to take a 16-14 lead. Neither team could separate themselves the rest of the night, and Belleville led 20-19 at halftime and the score was tied at 26 after three quarters.

"We talked about setting a tone early, but Belleville took us out of that," Pickett said. "But our girls responded. Mariah Mohns stepped up, but our defense overall got us back into it. That's the staple of our program, defense."

To break Belleville's heavy pressure and double teams in the back court, Brodhead had Carley Mohns, an athletic 6-foot freshman, bring the ball up the court.

The game was halted for nearly 10 minutes with 43.1 seconds left in the second when Belleville's Olivia Ace went down with a scary knee injury. She did not return to the game.

Mariah Mohns led the Cardinals with 11 points. Heller had eight and Douglas added seven - all after halftime. Quinn Rear led Belleville with 14 and Natalie Manion had nine.

"I'm looking to be leader, not a shooter. My main role is defense," Mariah Mohns said. "But if I have an open shot, I'm taking it."

Brodhead (6-5, 4-1 Rock Valley South) is over .500 for the first time this season, with four of its losses coming by a combined total of six points.

The Cardinals not look to continue the momentum on Thursday, as they host Clinton (5-4, 2-3) in a Rock Valley South showdown.

Belleville hits the road Thursday, traveling to Wisconsin Heights (3-4, 2-1).