By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton Lady Tigers Basketball got a major boost to their 2014-2015 season, after starting the Lampasas Lady Badgers Holiday Tournament 1-1 last week.
After being relegated to the Silver bracket, the Lady Tigers endured two strong comebacks from Burnet and Mason to win the bracket.
Following their 45-41 win in the semifinals against Burnet, they got out to defensive start against Cowgirls. Blair Gilbert completed a three-point play with 3:44 to play in the first quarter for Belton’s first points. Tina Jones and Cammie Moore hit field goals to make the score 7-0. Mason scored their first points with 1:11 remaining from the free throw line. Emily Del Real hit a free throw with 27 seconds left in the first quarter, giving Belton an 8-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Aubrianna Garcia’s three-pointer launched the Lady Tigers into a 16-6 second quarter. Moore scored the next five points, Garcia hit another field goal, Keilee Burke hit the next two buckets and Jhynae McCray wrapped up the scoring with 1:17 left in the half. Mason’s first field goal didn’t occur until the 5:23 mark of the second quarter, a span of 11:37.With a first-half lead as many as 18 points, Belton led the Cowgirls 24-8 at the half.
Mason went on a 13-6 run in the third quarter to get back into the game. With McKinzee Robinson and Del Real hitting the only Belton field goals of the quarter, the Lady Tigers held a nine-point advantage at the end of the third quarter, 30-21.
Garcia’s drive on the first possession of the fourth quarter opened Belton’s lead to 11 points. Kayla Guice hit three consecutive three-pointers in a span of 1:33 swallowed up nine points of the 11-point lead. Brooke Falgout hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 32-32 with 3:40 to go. Del Real gave the Lady Tigers the lead back with a three-pointer with 3:24 remaining, making the score 35-32.
The teams traded a pair possessions before Falgout and Sara Powell each hit field goals to give Mason a 36-35 lead with 1:30 remaining. Gilbert hit a critical field goal with 1:02 remaining and Moore hit a free throw with 19.9 seconds remaining. Falgout missed two free throws that would have tied the game with 3.6 seconds remaining. The clock expired and Belton claimed the Silver Bracket Championship of the tournament.
“I’m proud of the girls, as they worked hard,” Belton head coach Brenda Gomez. “We had one good win and one not-so-good win. We weren’t getting around picks, we weren’t paying attention and we weren’t focused.”
Gomez feels that at this time of year that the team should be playing to their potential.
“At this time of the season, we should be playing to our potential,” Gomez said. “In the last game, we didn’t do that.”
The Lady Tigers return to District 12-6A play with a 12-11 record overall, but 0-3 in district. They head back into a tough matchup at Tiger Gym Friday night at 7 p.m. against Killeen Ellison.