The Belton Lady Tigers led off the first game of a varsity basketball twin bill on Tuesday night, as they took on the Harker Heights Lady Knights on the road.
After holding the Lady Knights to just a single point in the first quarter, Harker Heights took advantage of cold Belton shooting in the second quarter. But the Lady Tigers bounced back after some third-quarter adjustments and came away with a 40-33 road win over the Lady Knights.
Belton is now 12-4 on the season and 2-0 in District 12-6A play. Harker Heights dropped to 4-5 overall and 1-1 in district play.
The Lady Tigers started off with a 6-1 first quarter, as Janna Harvey sank two free throws in the early going, Presleigh York hitting a field goal in the paint, and Nia Williams feeding Natasha Blizzard in the lane for a basket. Brielle Dorsey sank a free throw with 4:45 to play in the first quarter for the Lady Knights’ only point of the quarter.
Harker Heights head coach Shirretha Nelson made some adjustments in the first quarter break and her Lady Knights came out firing on all cylinders. Dorsey popped in Heights’ first field goal at the 7:27 mark in the second quarter. The hoop was quickly followed two baskets from Celise Bobbitt and another from Angelique Morgan to give Heights a 9-6 lead with 5:15 to play in the first half.
York’s three-pointer from the left elbow of the three-point arc tied the game at 9-9, only to be countered with a field goal from Bobbitt 12 seconds later. York launched a three-pointer from the right corner with 3:18 to play, but a 6-4 closing run for the Lady Knights gave them an 17-16 halftime lead.
Belton head coach Brenda Gomez and her coaching staff made some needed adjustments.
“It started with making some baskets,” Gomez said. “We were 2-of-17 in the first half in the paint. We moved the ball a little bit better in the second half.”
Alisa Priddy’s bank shot from just outside the lane 30 seconds into the third quarter was answered with two free throws from Bobbitt. York’s three-pointer from the left elbow of the arc with 6:10 to go in the quarter put Belton up by two. Dorsey’s turnaround bank shot tied the game at 21-21 with 5:44 to go in the quarter. York hit another three-pointer to give the Lady Tigers the lead for good with 5:24 to play in the quarter. Following a defensive stop, Risha Rice’s bank shot found the twine and Jocelyn Brewer completed a three-point play to put Belton up 29-23 with 1:23 to play in the frame. Emiri Lovell drove for the final bucket of the quarter for Heights, as they trailed the Lady Tigers going into the fourth quarter, 29-25.
Harvey hit one of two free throws 14 seconds in the final stanza and York followed with a three-pointer from the left elbow of the arc 41 seconds later. Bobbitt’s three-pointer snapped Heights’ deficit in half before Williams and Blizzard hit field goals to give Belton a 38-28 lead before a timeout.
“I think we took our time a little better with our shots in the second half,” Gomez said. “Our outside shots were falling and that helped a ton. Defensively, I thought the we blocked out a little bit better. Still not good enough, though. We cannot allow that many offensive rebounds.”
Sierra Brooks’ three-pointer and two free throws by Dorsey cut the deficit in half before York sank a pair of late free throws to ice the seven-point win.
York led all scorers with 19 points, including 15 from behind the three-point line. Blizzard added five points and four other Lady Tigers had three points.
Bobbitt led the Lady Knights with 10 points and Dorsey added nine points.