By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton Tigers boys’ basketball team has been on the biggest roll of late in recent memory.
The Tigers came in fourth place in San Angelo and won the Greenville Holiday tournament, riding the momentum into District 12-6A play, hosting the Killeen Kangaroos.
Belton overcame a five-point deficit with 18 regulation seconds left in regulation, getting a offensive rebound basket from Jackson McGowan, three-pointer from Coby Potvin with 1.8 seconds left and a block of a last-ditch Killeen shot by Jordan Russell lifted the Tigers into overtime. But blown backside coverage caused a Kangaroo player to lay-in a basket with 1.5 left in overtime to drop the Tigers 65-63 at Tiger Gym Friday night.
The loss dropped the Tigers to 9-6 overall and 0-1 in District 12-6A play.
McGowan’s inside presence paid dividends early for the Tigers, as he scored six of the Tigers first seven points, giving them a 7-2 lead. Mikell Clark six points of his own to help get the Roos back to within two points at 9-8. Josh Williamson’s three-pointer with 19 seconds left in the quarter closed out the scoring, giving the Tigers a 12-8 advantage.
The Tigers kept hammering away at the Roos in the second quarter, as McGowan scored the first six points for Belton in the second quarter, all in the paint. Charles Donlow took a Russell pass and his 12-foot jumper gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the game, seven points, at 20-13. Clark’s free-throw shooting help bring the Roos back to within four points at the half, 20-17.
Demarius Cress made the first five points of the half, before another Williamson three-pointer triggered a see-sawing score between the teams. Killeen took a seven-point lead with 2:46 left at 34-27, before four three-pointers by Belton triggered a 12-3 run to close out the quarter. Williamson and Jordan Ellis each drained a pair of threes to give the Tigers a 39-37 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Belton held a 47-42 lead with 5:05 left in regulation before Killeen went on a 10-0 in the next 4:32 to take a 52-47 lead with 32 seconds left. The Tigers had a four cracks at a shot in the lane before McGowan scored on a put back with 18.4 remaining. Williamson’s steal of a Killeen pass with 10.6 left setup a timeout by Belton head coach David President.
The ball was inbounded in the Belton back court. Williamson came across the time line and found Potvin open from 23-feet out. Potvin, the senior with ice-water coursing through his veins, let the ball fly and it made that beautiful leather through nylon swish that could be heard through the silence of a gasping Belton crowd to tie the score at 52-52. The Tigers’ faithful jumped with a collective boom that echoed all over the Tigers’ Cage and the gymnasium erupted with a roar.
Russell blocked a desperation Killeen heave in the back court to force the game into overtime.
The overtime started and McGowan picked up his fifth foul just nine seconds into the extra frame. Following two Cress free-throws and a field goal, Potvin sank a three-pointer ,Williamson sank a jumper and Russell banked a shot in the paint off the glass for a 59-56 lead with two minutes remaining, Tracy Todd and Williamson traded threes to give Belton a 62-59 lead with 1:29 remaining. Lane Holmes fouled out after having played a great game, giving Clark a pair of free throws. Clark promptly sank the pair of shots and added a field goal to tie the score at 63-63.
Killeen held the ball for the last shot and Clark crept underneath the coverage near the low post. Cress fed Clark and laid the ball off the glass with 1.5 seconds remaining to give the Roos a 65-63 lead. Potvin’s inbound pass to Calvin Johnson III from the back court end line to front court three-point line was intercepted and the game ended.
The Tigers were led in scoring by Williamson with 17 points, 15 from three-point line. McGowan had 14 points, all in the paint. Ellis and Russell each had eight points and Potvin had seven points.
Belton will next take part in the M.T. Rice Tournament at Waco Midway Dec. 29 through 31. Leander Rouse, Gods Academy and Wharton will be in Belton’s pool. Belton will play Rouse at Midway Middle School’s big gym on Monday, Dec. 29 at 9 a.m. They will play God’s Academy at MMS at the small gym at 3:30 p.m. that day. They will wrap up pool play against Wharton at MMS on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 9:30 a.m. Bracket play will start following the game and will be split between Midway High School and Midway Middle School.