By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
Whenever the Belton Lady Tigers play the Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs in any sport, you can expect a tough, fierce, competitive outing.
Tuesday night’s affair at Bulldawg Gymnasium in Copperas Cove fit the bill.
Cammie Moore scored 20 points and Belton got good scoring nights from Blair Gilbert (11 points) and Emily del Real (11 points), as they survived a furious Cove comeback to register their first District 12-6A win of the 2015-2016 campaign, 50-44.
Belton head coach Brenda Gomez’s Lady Tigers squad is now 12-5 overall on the season and 1-1 in District 12-6A competition.
TGCA’s 17th-ranked Copperas Cove got off to a good start, claiming an 11-8 at the conclusion of the first quarter. Moore heated up in the second quarter, scoring a blistering 15 points in the game’s first 16 minutes and helping the Lady Tigers tie the game at 21-21 at the halftime.
Belton took advantage of multiple opportunities in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Dawgs 18-4 in the period and took a 39-25 advantage into the final stanza.
The Lady Tigers went up 41-25 early in the fourth quarter before Cove caught lightning in a bottle and stormed to a 19-5 run to narrow the margin to a mere two points, 46-44, with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game. Moore and Gilbert were fouled inside of the final seconds, sank all four of their free throws and Keilee Burke stole the ball to seal the win for Belton.
The team has grown by leaps and bounds in 2015-2016, showing continuous improvement and withstanding an impressive rally by a very talented Lady Dawgs team.
“That was really huge,” Gomez said. “That was the best thing to come out of this because the players stepped up, and they didn’t just falter or crater under pressure.”
One thing that Gomez has constantly communicated to her team since her arrival several years ago was the next to weather pressure and continue to fight.
“That is something we’ve been trying to get better at,” Gomez said. “When there is pressure, we have to step up and be strong.”
Gomez has a luxury in the 2015-2016 season that she had not had a great deal of in seasons past. That is bench depth and their ability to produce if her leading scorer is being covered tightly.
“Moore is really our go-to player,” Gomez said. “But if somebody stops her, we Emily and Blair and Kaitlyn Jones and Hannah Martin. So, it is nice to have other kids show up when somebody stops one of our other scorers.”
Belton returns to action Friday at Tiger Gym for their last game before the Christmas break, as they take on the Killeen Lady Roos at 6:30 p.m. After the Christmas break, both the Belton Tigers and Belton Lady Tigers will play at the M.T. Rice Tournament in Hewitt Dec. 28 through 30. A preview of that tournament will be in next week’s Belton Journal Sports Section.