NBC GIRLS BASKETBALL W. Branch closes in on title

In order to make league history, the Warriors must play well on the road.
BELOIT -- After Wednesday night's 49-36 victory over Northwest, the West Branch High girls basketball team is on course to make league history.
The five-time defending Northeastern Buckeye Conference champions swept the season series from the Indians and opened a two-game lead with just five league games remaining. No team has ever won six straight NBC girls basketball titles.
"We knew coming into the season that we had to play well against Northwest and Carrollton in order to win the league," said West Branch (12-1, 9-0 NBC) coach Chuck Campbell, whose squad is ranked fourth in the Associated Press Division II poll.
"We're two games up now, but we still have three road games coming up, so we have to come ready to play."
Battle of styles
In a game featuring contrasting styles, West Branch preferred to set up its half-court offense and get the ball inside to Evelyn Woods and Victoria Arndt, while the Indians (11-3, 7-2) were looking to run the floor and score in transition.
The Warriors led only 6-4 with 5 minutes remaining in the first quarter, then went on a 10-1 run to take control. Woods scored on back-to-back possessions to give West Branch a 16-5 lead and some momentum.
Northwest, ranked No. 16 in Div. II, limited West Branch to just four points in the second quarter and trailed only 22-17 at intermission.
"There were a number of times in the second quarter when we weren't patient enough and we got caught up in a faster tempo," said Campbell. "We couldn't get into a rhythm until the third quarter."
West Branch made all the right adjustments in the second half. As they have all season, the Warriors came out strong in the third quarter, outscoring Northwest 13-4. Most of the damage was done by Arndt and Woods, who combined for eight points to start the quarter. Arndt's basket at the 4:05 mark gave the Warriors a 30-17 advantage.
"We started moving our feet better in the second half," said Campbell. "We boxed out better and played better defense.
"We feel like if we can get the ball inside, we can score a lot of points and we did that in the second half."