WESTMINSTER - It was a battle of two Class 1A powerhouses on Tuesday night.
Belleview Christian came into the contest ranked No. 7 in the state and with one loss, while Jim Elliot Christian had a perfect 14-0 record and was ranked No. 8 in the state.
Not to mention the winner of Tuesday’s game would take the top spot in the 5280 League.
And if it wasn’t for a second-half rally by the Wolverines the top spot would have belonged to the Bruins.
However, JEC hit six free throws in the final minute to rally from an 11-point deficit to get the 43-37 victory over their league rivals.
“They are a great team,” Belleview Christian coach Josh Polson said. “They are well coached and are really tough.”
The Bruins defense helped Belleview Christian take an early advantage; they held the high-scoring Wolverines to only 15 points in the first half.
Sydney Ahaneku led the way with two big blocks in the first half, while Kayla Iwahashi helped push the Bruins advantage to double figures.
Iwahashi found Kelsie Birch for a basket and then she drained a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer to give Belleview Christian a 26-15 advantage at the half.
But the undefeated Wolverines wouldn’t go away and used their defense to stage a rally. They opened the second half with a 10-point run, and held the Bruins scoreless for nearly the first five minutes of the second half and only allowed four points in the quarter.
Raquel Martinez hit a 20-footer to give Belleview Christian a 28-25 lead and Iwahashi added another basket to give Belleview Christian a 30-27 advantage going into the fourth.
JEC started the fourth by attacking the basket and getting to the charity stripe, a pair of free throws by Michaela Warner gave the Wolverines a one-point advantage.
Ahaneku scored seven straight points to even the score at 37, but JEC went 6 for 6 from the charity stripe to get the victory.
“This is the closest game we’ve had all year,” Polson said. “I hope we can take something from it that can help us finish the season strong.”
Ahaneku picked up her 10th double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Iwahashi scored 10 points and MacKenzie Woods had seven rebounds.