By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
Some of the best-laid plans don’t always work. For the Belton Tigers on Tuesday night at Tiger Gym, it was the plan that didn’t work out that won the game for Big Red. Jackson McGowan took a feed pass from Jordan Russell in the lane and gently banked the ball of the glass and through the net as time expired, as the Tigers tripped up Waco Midway 50-49. The win gave the Tigers and Belton head coach David President their first District 12-6A victory of the season against two losses and improved their season record to 13-8.
Midways dropped to 1-3 in District 12-6A play and 18-8 overall. Belton jumped out to a 9-6 lead on a trio of floaters from Russell and a steal-layup combo from Coby Potvin. Antoine Betters and Jordan Ross combined for points to tie the game up at 9-9 at the end of the first quarter.
The two teams exchanged scores in the second quarter, as Potvin and Carson Hammond each had five points in the quarter as part of the 13-9 stanza to give Belton a 22-20 halftime lead.
The third quarter contained two runs, which tilted the game’s momentum back and forth. Betters and Darius Colvin combined for a Midway 5-0 run to start the second half. The Panthers led by four points twice and held a 35-31 lead when a Potvin three-pointer and a pair of McGowan field goals buoyed a 7-0 run to give the Tigers a 38-35 lead with one minute left. Ross sank two free throws to close out the scoring, as the Tigers led 38-37 going into the fourth quarter.
Belton pulled out to a four-point lead, 43-39, with 6:36 remaining. Midway fought back to tie the game at 43-43. Midway took a 46-44 lead with 2:53 remaining and McGowan tied the game at 46-46 with 2:48 remaining. Bubba Furlong’s field goal made the score 48-46 with 2:27 remaining and again McGowan answered with 2:15 remaining to make the score 48-48. Furlong made the front end of a two-shot trip to the line with 1:18 remaining to pull Midway in front 49-48.
A series of timeouts were called in the final 32 seconds. With seven seconds remaining, an inbounds pass went to Hammond, who came over center court and dished the ball to Russell. Russell went to the left side of the key and passed across to McGowan, who banked the ball off the glass. The horn sounded as the ball when through the cylinder, sparking a wild scene of joyful exuberance from the Belton faithful, both on the floor and in the stands. McGowan and Russell admitted that the play called in the huddle during the final timeout didn’t work.
“No, the play didn’t work,” McGowan said. “It threw us off a little.”
“The play didn’t work actually,” Russell said. “The play was to get the ball by the volleyball line and look into Jack automatically. But he was playing me up, so I had to throw it downcourt. So I just ran with it. Just when I saw that big dude step over, I got it in there.”
“I told them I was glad that they didn’t run what we set up,” President said. “Throwing the ball back over half court, they got in mind what they wanted to do. Russell drew the defenders on the left and it left Jackson wide open.”
Russell’s grandmother, who is ill in the hospital, was weighing on his mind throughout the game. He wanted to play well for her.
“I told her that I wanted to play well and step up,” Russell said. “It was an unbelievable moment and soon as he put up that layup, I just lost in and jumped for joy.”
Asked if the win would boost the team’s momentum going into Harker Heights on Friday, Russell believes that the win will propel them through the week.
“We are all excited now that we have some momentum,” Russell said. “We’ll put some work in and be ready.”
“This win is huge,” President said. “We finally got over the hump. I challenged Jackson to finish. He did it.”
“We’re in it now,” McGowan added with a smile.
Tigers fall at Ellison 56-40
In every successful rebuilding project, there are always detours and outcomes that teams endure. Friday night was one of those nights for Belton head coach David President and his Belton Tigers boys’ basketball team. After a tight start, the Tigers went cold in the second quarter and couldn’t catch the high-flying Killeen Ellison Eagles, falling at the Eagles’ Nest 56-40. Four players scored for the Tigers in the game, led by Jackson McGowan’s 14 points. Jordan Russell added 11 points, Josh Williamson connected for nine points and Coby Potvin chipped in six points for Belton.
The big disparity in the game was foul shooting. Not so much that the Tigers had 17 fouls and the Eagles had 12 fouls. The Eagles were 21-of-33 from the charity stripe to the Tigers’ 2-of-5 tries. Belton held a 13-11 advantage after the first quarter. Ellison’s quarter-long 10-4 run in the second quarter gave them the lead at halftime 21-17. The Eagles led 32-25 at the end of the third quarter before closing the game on a 24-15 clip. Isiah Jasey scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Ellison.