It had been since 2010 that the Belton Lady Tigers had won a playoff round match.
All that changed on Tuesday night in Whitney, as the District 8-6A third-seeded Lady Tigers took on the District 7-6A’s second-seeded DeSoto Lady Eagles.
From the get-go, both sides were electric and energetic. Belton caught fire at the right times and they were all over the court, digging and spiking.
The Lady Tigers pulled off what could be considered an upset in DFW circles, winning a four-game match over the Lady Eagles. The scores were 25-23, 18-25, 25-21 and 25-18.
Belton improved their overall record to 25-14 and earned head coach Krystal Brodbeck her first playoff win.
They will take on Plano West, who swept Flower Mound on Tuesday night in Frisco. Their scores were 25-22, 26-24 and 25-20.
DeSoto jumped out to a 3-1 lead, with Jada Starling picking up an early kill. Belton’s tenacity was evident early, as Jamie Janczak and Emily Holder picked up key kills to spur the Lady Tigers to a 17-10 stretch to take an 18-13 lead.
The Lady Eagles went on a 9-3 run to take a 22-21 lead. Kamryn Madden had two kills and Hanna Griffin had two attacks to earn Belton a two-point win in the first game.
In the second game, Kaira Hunnicut and Jada Allen paced the Lady Eagles with a series of kills and solid play to keep DeSoto ahead throughout, eventually winning the game by seven points.
Madison Ward and Katie Bain played superbly in the backcourt, grabbing multiple digs in third game. Those digs set up Holder and Kale Kincannon’s assists and Jackson and Kelsey Surovik kills.
DeSoto was up to the task, as Hunnicutt and Allen kept peppering the Belton side with kill shots. Attacks by Griffin, Janczak and LéDea Harris set up kills by Madden and Jackson. The Lady Tigers finally pulled away late in the game after a 21-21 tie with a four-point finish.
With the pressure on the Lady Eagles, the teams split the first 12 points. Madden’s kill gave the Lady Tigers a 7-6 lead and Janczak had three kills in a four-point stretch to give Belton a 10-7, forcing DeSoto to call a timeout.
Belton didn’t stop the momentum, as Griffin, Harris, Madden, and Jackson kept dropping shots in the middle of the DeSoto rectangle. The Lady Eagles kept alive, as Allen and Aaleyah Richardson had kills, to keep the game close.
DeSoto took its final timeout with Belton leading 20-15. Richardson grabbed a point to make the score 20-16. But a stunning dig by Kincannon, kills by Janczak, Madden, Jackson and Harris put the exclamation point on a signature win for Belton.
Janczak had 16 digs, 11 kills and three aces. Jackson had nine kills, eight blocks and two digs. Harris had eight kills, six digs and a block. Surovik had eight kills, three digs and a block. Ward had 30 digs and an ace. Kincannon had 22 assists, 13 digs and a kill. Holder had 17 assists, 15 digs and three kills.
An ecstatic Brodbeck was overjoyed with the performance of her Lady Tigers and the outcome of the match.
“There are no words to adequately convey how proud I am of this team tonight,” Brodbeck said. “They decided they were not leaving Whitney without a win, and that decision showed in their level of play. We had one of the best defensive efforts of the entire season. The girls worked with each other, listened and made adjustments, and read situations and holes beautifully. We knew DeSoto would not go down without a fight, but our girls pushed their play to the next level tonight. I am very proud of our Bi-District Champs!”