By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton Lady Tigers returned from Christmas break straight into tournament play at Lampasas in the Lady Badger Holiday Tournament. 12 teams in four pools played in the opening day of the tournament, with the Lady Tigers playing Austin Akins and Godley.
In the pool opener, the Lady Tigers blitzed the Lady Eagles of Austin Akins to the tune of 15-5 in the first quarter and allowed just 22 points in a 68-22 victory.
Keilee Burke scored the Lady Tigers’ six of their first nine points, as Aubrianna Garcia hit the other three. Belton traded buckets with Akins to lead 15-5 at the end of the first quarter.
Following an Akins field goal, Belton went on a 16-0, with Cammie Moore, McKinzee Robinson, Cheyenne Brown and Blair Gilbert all doing damage during the run. When the dust cleared, Belton outscored the Lady Eagles 21-4 in the second quarter and led 36-9 at halftime.
Garcia, Gilbert, Robinson, Burke and Hannah Martin all cashed in during the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Eagles 17-12 and stretched the lead to 34 points at the end of the quarter, 53-19.
Garcia, Martin and Tina Jones ticked the scoresheet in the final quarter, with the Lady Tigers outscoring Akins 15-3 and without a field goal through the final 8:03.
Belton allowed just three field goals in each half. Four Lady Tigers scored in double figures. Garcia had 15 points, Moore and Robinson each had 11 points and Burke scored 10 points. Martin scored nine points in a quarter of work.
With no worse than a second-place position in pool clinched, it was up to the Lady Tigers to take on Class 4A No. 11 Godley to see who would clinch the top spot in Pool D.
The Lady Wildcats hit Belton with everything they could muster in the first quarter. Makaila Tyer hit four three-point baskets in a span of 3:19, as teammates Leanna James and Jaycee Pannell added a combined eight points, as Godley took a 20-4 lead after the first quarter over the Lady Tigers.
“It was an awful first quarter,” Belton head coach Brenda Gomez said. “We were in a zone and couldn’t stop penetration to the paint and they would just kick it to her (Tyer). Of course, they were trying to help in the paint. That decision was my fault, so we went to man-to-man to the extent that they weren’t shooting threes, but we couldn’t stop anything in the paint.”
Garcia’s field goal at 5:37 to play in the first half broke a 13-0 Godley run to make the score 24-6. Robinson made to key blocks in a sequence of six seconds and Kaitlyn Jones’ three-pointer helped get the Lady Tigers back to within 15 points at the break, 30-15.
The Lady Tigers and Lady Wildcats traded baskets in the third quarter, with both teams scoring 14 points each. Godley led 44-29 going into the final quarter.
Belton only allowed two field goals in the final quarter, but Godley went 11-of-15 from the charity stripe in the final stanza, emerging with the 59-45 win..
Moore was the leading scorer for the Lady Tigers with 19 points and Garcia added 11.
Godley won the pool with a 2-0 record, as they beat Austin Akins earlier in the day 66-60. Belton finished 1-1 and Akins finished 0-2.
The Lady Tigers will play Burnet on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. in Lampasas. If Belton wins, they will play for the silver bracket championship at 5:45 p.m. If they lose, they will play in the consolation game at 4 p.m.
We will bring you the results of the game in next week’s Belton Journal Sports Section.