By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
Carson Hammond led the Belton Tigers in scoring during both bronze bracket games of the 2015 M.T. Rice Annual Holiday Tournament last Wednesday in Hewitt.
In the semifinal game, the Tigers took on the Leander Rouse Raiders.
The Tigers overcame an early deficit and took a 38-36 lead into the fourth quarter. The Raiders rode a 17-6 through the final quarter and sent the Tigers into the third place game into the bracket, falling to Rouse 53-44
Rouse led 17-14 after the first quarter and Belton rallied took take a 33-30 lead into the halftime break.
Hammond scored 15 points, Kiron Griffin, Jr. scored 12 and Jerian Kerley and Ruben Freeman each contributed six points.
Belton took on the Montgomery Bears in the third place game. The Tigers rallied from a 13-point deficit at the end of the first quarter, tied the game at halftime, trailed by five going into the final quarter and had a chance to win the ballgame late, but fell short 61-60.
The Bears jumped out to a 19-point lead on a series of three-pointers in the first quarter before Hammond hit two triples to bring the Tigers back within 13 at the end of the first quarter, 22-9.
Hammond brought the cannon out in the second quarter and shot three three-pointers during the 24-11, quarter-long streak. The Tigers went into the halftime break charged up, tied at 33-33.
Montgomery pulled out to a 46-41 lead, thanks to a 13-8 third quarter. Belton made a late charge, but a pair of free-throw missed not only cost the Tigers a chance to win the game, but win the game as well.
Hammond scored 22 points, Freeman and Dontori Lott each scored six points, Izaiah Jones scored five points and Jordin Ellis scored four points.
“We went into this tournament trying to get some things fixed before jumping back into district play,” Belton head coach David President said. “We are still trying to find an identity with the core of our team being sophomores. Roles have been changed due to key players not being on the floor. We have a huge challenge ahead of us and it’ll be exciting to see where we land.”