BELTON — According to coach Brenda Gomez, her Belton Lady Tigers have struggled to put together four strong quarters on a consistent basis.
Tuesday night at Tiger Gym, Gomez saw her team turn in a complete effort for all 32 minutes of Belton’s 55-40 win over Ellison.
“Our defense looked like the defense we had back in December. I don’t know why we chose to take so many games off with the effort on defense,” Gomez said. “But now when it comes down to the crunch time, they decided to step it up and really intensify the defense.”
The Lady Tigers (20-13, 8-6 District 12-6A) picked an opportune time to pick up their play on both ends of the floor. Belton is tied for fourth place in the league standings with Killeen — which had the night off — with two games remaining. Harker Heights, Waco Midway and Copperas Cove sit atop the district. Belton will play at Waco on Friday and conclude the season at home against Midway next Tuesday.
Janna Harvey led Belton with 17 points. Natasha Blizzard and Presleigh York added 11 apiece, and Nylah Modeste chipped in seven off the bench.
Alina Simon had 14 points for the Lady Eagles, and Arrianna Faulks and Chyra Thompson scored seven each.
Leading 7-6 after a sloppy first quarter for both teams, Belton went on a 12-0 run to start the second, and Ellison (11-18, 7-8) failed to score until a jump shot by Simon at the 1:45 mark.
The Lady Eagles were 1-of-7 from the floor in the frame, while the Lady Tigers made four of five shots from the field and went 6-for-8 at the free throw line while building a 22-8 halftime lead.
“It was definitely failure to execute on our part,” Ellison coach Sherry McKinnon said. “We’ve seen Belton before with their zones and we thought we had a good game plan, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t put the ball in the hole. We just didn’t finish a lot of shots and then we couldn’t make free throws.”
Ellison finished 14-of-34 from the stripe but scored 13 points in the third quarter and 19 in the fourth. Belton answered with 14 points in the third and 19 over the final 8 minutes. Harvey made a layup with 5½ minutes left in the game that pushed Belton ahead 40-24 before the action slowed to a crawl, with the teams combining to shoot 33 free throws in the fourth.
TUESDAY'S 12-6A SCORES
- Belton 55, Ellison 40
- Copperas Cove 58, Harker Heights 53, OT
- Temple 52, Waco 30
- Waco Midway 49, Shoemaker 32