Logan Rowles and Norwell Knights attack in key girls basketball win over Bellmont

Norwell's Logan Rowles, center, drives on Bellmont's Grace Hunter, right, during Norwell's 61-49 win on Saturday at Norwell. (Photo by Reggie Hayes of news-sentinel.com)
Bellmont's Grace Hunter runs into traffic in the lane from Norwell's Kaylee Fuelling, left, Breann Barger and Logan Rowles on Saturday at Norwell. (Photo by Reggie Hayes of news-sentinel.com)
Norwell's Kaylee Fuelling, left, tries to move past Bellmont's Meghan Busick on Saturday at Norwell. (Photo by Reggie Hayes of news-sentinel.com)
Bellmont's Grace Hunter tries to score inside against Norwell on Saturday at Norwell. (Photo by Reggie Hayes of news-sentinel.com)

OSSIAN – Norwell High School senior forward Logan Rowles had one primary job in the biggest game of the Knights’ girls basketball season so far.

She had an offensive role so concrete it could be reduced to a single word: Attack.

“Coach told me to drive, and that’s what I did,” Rowles said after Norwell beat Bellmont 61-49 on Saturday night at Norwell. “Tonight was pretty much the best game I’ve played this season.”

Rowles scored 25 points on 10 of 17 shooting, and pulled down seven rebounds to set an aggressive tone in a game that put Norwell in control of the Northeast 8 Conference race. Norwell improved to 5-0 in NE8 play (13-5 overall) and handed Bellmont its first conference loss. Bellmont (15-4, 4-1 NE8) entered the game on a 10-game winning streak.

Rowles took the lead for the Knights in the first and third quarters. She scored 10 of the Knights’ 11 points in the first quarter and 11 of the Knights’ 18 points in the third quarter. Her back-to-back baskets late in the third quarter gave Norwell its biggest lead (17 points) and all but sealed the win.

“Logan’s had big games before,” Norwell coach Eric Thornton said. “But when you have a big game against an opponent like this, and the stage that was set tonight, I’m not sure there’s been anything bigger for her.”

Most of Rowles’ buckets Saturday came on the strength of her drives down the right side of the lane. She has strong ball-handling skills and knows how to use her body to gain the best position for a powerful layup.

She also has a knack for finishing strong when she draws a foul. She hit 5 of 6 free throws in the game.

“For her to have a game like this on this type of stage is a great confidence booster for her, and that’s leadership,” Thornton said. “What does your team need from you? That’s what we needed, right there.”

Defensively, the Knights were able to keep the pressure on Bellmont offensive leader Grace Hunter, holding her to 10 points. Much of the responsibility went to Norwell freshman Kaylee Fuelling, whose sister Emily is a senior guard/forward for Bellmont. Maddie Sonnenberg led Bellmont with 13 points and Emily Fuelling scored 11.

“We played as a team, but Kaylee really helped us out,” Norwell senior guard Brielle Wilson said. “She face-guarded (Hunter) and she’s a really good defender.”

Norwell has a nice mix of older and younger players. Rowles and Wilson are the only seniors, and they are joined in the primary rotation by junior Aubrey Dunnuck, sophomore Breann Barger and Kaylee Fuelling. Freshmen Maiah Shelton (11 points, all in the second quarter, with three three-pointers) and Lauren Bales round out the regular rotation. Dunnuck and Fuelling scored eight points apiece Saturday.

The win was the 15th straight for Norwell over Bellmont. Bellmont won the NE8 last season, but its only conference loss was to Norwell, and Norwell knocked Bellmont out of the sectional last season.

The Knights had not been more excited after a win this season, Thornton said.

“Norwell and Bellmont are big rivals, of course,” Rowles said. “Bellmont is a really good team and we had to step it up. We all worked together. I’m really proud of this team.”

Rowles led the way in aggression Saturday, which was a primary reason the Knights never trailed.

“For Logan, she’s got to attack,” Thornton said. “That’s Logan’s game. Grace Hunter is defending her. That’s no slouch of a defender; she’s really good. For Logan to do that, not only against Grace but against that team, that’s really great.”

Thornton looked at Rowles’ 17 shots and said he’d be happy to have her put up that many each game the rest of the way.

“I’d be OK if she shot it 25 times,” Thornton said. “She’s a very good all-around basketball player. We’re lucky to have her on our team, for sure.”