BELTON — It took three overtime sessions Tuesday night, but the Belton Tigers are headed back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Belton got the ball with 24.3 seconds remaining in the third overtime and milked the clock inside 10 seconds. After Jarian Kerley missed a contested layup and Harker Heights grabbed the rebound, the Tigers’ Kiron Griffin intercepted the outlet pass and dished the ball to Kerley. The senior guard found redemption with a breakaway finger-roll layup as the clock expired, lifting Belton to a 69-67 victory and punching the Tigers’ ticket to the postseason.
Belton (18-12, 8-6 District 8-6A) finished the regular season tied for third place in the district with Shoemaker, which defeated Killeen to earn a playoff berth. Harker Heights (13-15, 7-7) finished fifth and missed the postseason.
Griffin missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that could have won it for Belton in regulation.
Heights’ Dashawn Walker drew a foul with 0.4 seconds remaining in the first overtime and hit both free throws to force the second extra period. Griffin scored on a layup and a jump shot, and Elijah Eddings dropped in a layup to give Belton a 61-60 lead with 1:45 left in the second overtime. Heights tied it on a free throw and had a shot later to end it, but the Knights’ attempt at a tip-in was off the mark.
The teams continued to exchange baskets in the third overtime. Two free throws by Kerley tied the game at 67 with 41.6 seconds left, and Griffin drew an offensive foul to give Belton the ball with under 30 seconds to go.
- Belton 69, Harker Heights 67, 3OT
- Ellison 67, San Angelo Central 53
- Shoemaker 65, Killeen 54
- Waco Midway 64, Copperas Cove 55