By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
It is a good thing for a team preparing for district play to get a solid test game.
The Belton Lady Tigers got that and then some against the University Lady Trojans at Tiger Gym on Tuesday night.
Belton trailed by nine points with 5:23 to play in the game before Natasha Blizzard scored eight points in a 12-2 run and Elisa Priddy hit the tying and winning free throws with 50.2 seconds to play to give the Lady Tigers a 40-39 win.
The game was marred by a double-technical foul call and two University ejections with 6:04 to play in the fourth quarter.
Priddy started the scoring with a jumper five seconds into the game. Lyric McGowan answers with a put back at the 58-second mark. Keilee Burke received an in-paint pass from Priddy and laid the ball off the glass for the lead. Presleigh York took a pass from Priddy and popped a three-pointer from the left elbow of the arc to give the Lady Tigers a 7-2 lead.
Desirae Mathis hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Lady Trojans an 8-7 lead. York hit a free throw and a lay-in to give Belton a 10-8 lead. McGowan laid a shot off of the glass with a second to go in the quarter. The game was tied 10-10 going into the second quarter.
Both teams did not shoot well in the second quarter, but got shots into the basket when needed. Tyreonna Burks started the scoring in the second quarter for University with a long field goal 50 seconds in and McGowan added a field goal 24 seconds later. Ashlee Dunahoo had a drive and a jumper with 5:16 to play in the quarter to post the first Lady Tiger points in the frame. Abigail Howard and Burke traded baskets before McGowan’s put back with 1:12 remaining in the half gave the Lady Trojans an 18-14 lead. Taylin Wesley closed out the scoring in the first half with a long three-pointer from the left corner with 34 seconds to play. Belton trailed at the half, 18-17.
University outscored Belton 15-9 in the third quarter. Mathis, McGowan and Elaina Tate combined for all 15 points for the Lady Trojans, while Burke picked up six points, Wesley hit a pair of free throws and Abby Harrison hit a free throw with 23.7 to go in the quarter. University led 33-26 going into the fourth quarter.
Burke had the first points of the quarter on a put back 7:18 left in the ball game.
The game took a sharp turn with 6:04 to play, as Mathis and Nia Williams wrestled for a loose ball. The jump ball went in favor of University, but the action did not cease as Williams and Mathis continued to wrestle. Multiple whistles came from the officials and Burke guided Williams away from the play. Tate and Zaharia Owens were seen leaving the bench during the play and were both ejected from the game.
University then got a three-pointer from Jasmine Cunningham and a free throw from Zandria Hughes to put the Lady Trojans up 37-28 with 5:43 to play.
Blizzard scored three field goals, two on offensive rebounds, and a drive to the basket to bring the Lady Tigers within three points with 4:20 to play, 37-34. Wesley took a pass from Burke and brought Belton to within a point with 3:44 to go.
A controversial blocking foul on York was called with 3:24 to play, when she appeared to have been elbowed on a drive down the side of the court by Mathis. The junior forward scored 12 seconds later to put University up by three points, 39-36.
Blizzard took another in-paint feed from Burke and laid the ball off the glass to bring the Lady Tigers back to within a point, 39-38, with 2:50 to play.
York stole a pass and drove towards the basket with 50.2 seconds remaining when she went up for a layup and was fouled hard by Howard. York fell out of bounds and Howard landed on her, injuring her knee. York left the ball game, Priddy checked in and hit both free throws to give Belton a 40-39 lead.
Mathis dribbled 40 seconds off of the clock and then fed Howard inside, but she missed the jumper with nine seconds to play.
University had one more opportunity, but Burke intercepted the pass at center court and held the ball to end the game.
Burke led the Lady Tigers with 12 points, Blizzard added eight points and Wesley contributed seven points. Belton was 6-of-13 from the free throw line. They had 12 offensive rebounds and only allowed six offensive rebounds.
“Winning is important, but you have to play to your potential,” Gomez said. “We’ve got to be a better defending team.”
The Junior Varsity Lady Tigers fell to University, 38-33, and the Freshman Lady Tigers defeated the Lady Trojans, 31-26.
By Tony Adams, Sports Editor