Belleville, of the Capitol South Conference, traveled to Lake Mills to take on Lakeside Lutheran, of the Capitol North Conference, in a non-league outing Thursday.
In a competitive game that at times showcased the strength of both teams, the host Warriors pulled out a 70-59 victory thanks to a late scoring spree that turned a four-point game into a 12-point spread that ultimately decided the outcome.
Ranked No. 9 among WIAA Division 3 schools in this week's WSN Coaches poll, Lakeside Lutheran got 24 points from promising sophomore Wes Rahn and 14 from talented junior point guard Kaycee Guzman to turn back Belleville, which was coming off an impressive win at Marshall just a day earlier.
Belleville, which slipped to 6-9 under coach TJ Zweifel, got 13 points from backup Bryce Babler and 12 from senior Jack Erickson.
Wes Rahn, 6-7, Soph., F, Lakeside Lutheran
Rahn dominated things in the paint by using his physical strength and quick jumping ability to score over smaller defenders. He also stepped outside and hit a three-point basket and at times handled the ball against pressure in the full court. Rahn leads Lakeside Lutheran in scoring (17.8 ppg), rebounding (13.3 rpg) and assists (3.2 apg). "He's such a natural talent, but he has to learn the game a little bit," Lakeside Lutheran coach Todd Jahns said of Rahn. "We are working on the screen-and-roll game with him. His ability to rebound is also key for us."
Pesky Belleville made enough tough shots and three-point baskets to hang around for the vast majority of the game and had cut Lakeside Lutheran's lead to 58-54 with 4:58 left. After a Lakeside Lutheran timeout, the Warriors went on an 8-0 run that started with an inbounds pass from the side to Rahn. He then turned up-court and delivered a beautiful bounce pass to Evan Neumann, who took the feed and went in for a fast-break layup that started the spurt that lifted Lakeside Lutheran to its 15th victory in 16 outings.
Kaycee Guzman, 5-10, Jr., PG, Lakeside Lutheran
Foul trouble sidelined Guzman for portions of the first half, but the gifted lead guard made his presence known in the second half. He scored 12 of his 14 points after intermission, using his physical strength, quickness and confidence to make some floaters in the lane. He also moved the ball, found open teammates and handled the ball against pressure. "He gives us energy," Jahns said of Guzman. "He thinks the game and create for his teammates. Kaycee is a winner and a gamer."
"We've 16 games in and we still have some guys who are still getting their feet under them. I didn't expect us to be where we are at after losing five starters from last year. But I did think we would be better than some might have thought. We got some early wins against that gave us some confidence." -- Lakeside Lutheran coach Todd Jahns
Belleville had to overcome a severe height disadvantage to remain competitive against Lakeside Lutheran and the Wildcats did just that with good perimeter shooting and superior quickness ... Erickson is one four seniors for the Wildcats and the left-handed wing is the team's top scorer at 15.7 ppg ... Belleville's backcourt is deep and skilled, and can make things tough on opponents while also putting up some big points ... The Wildcats scored 103 points earlier this month in a victory over Waterloo.