By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - For the first three minutes, it didn't look like Belton would even score a basket.
However, Torie Henderson got an easy layup on the way to scoring 11 straight points for the Lady Tigers as they rebounded from an early first quarter deficit to defeat Lampasas 41-35 at Belton.
"It is a learning process all the time," said Belton coach Brenda Gomez. "I guess sometimes you try to make (shots) so bad that you just squeeze it instead of just letting it go. Once (Henderson) finally put us up on the board I think they thought 'Oh, OK we are not going to go oh-fer' and they relaxed a little bit and made some shots."
Henderson started the barrage with a layup, then hit a 3-pointer and another layup as Belton (3-9) rallied from a 7-3 hole to take an 8-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The senior point guard added an easy runner and two free throws as she kept the Lady Tigers ahead 12-11 going into the final two minutes of the half. Meanwhile, Lampasas post Hailey Morrison was doing her part, scoring six of the first 11 Lady Badger points.
Then something just clicked for Belton defensively.
The Lady Tigers held Lampasas (3-5) without a field goal for a 4½- minute stretch that lasted from the end of the second quarter to the 5:30 mark of the third. The defensive pressure led to easy buckets by Belton.
And as a result the Lady Tigers went on a 13-0 run that saw six different Belton players score. Kennedy Fowler then hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to 30-15.
"With the press that we had we put a little pressure on them to bring the ball up the floor," Gomez said. "Defensively, I think we stepped it up and stopped them from getting too many easy shots."
With the lead in double digits, Belton seemed to get complacent and Lampasas' Juls Crook took advantage of it.
The guard scored 15 of her points after the midway point of the third quarter. No shot was bigger than her 3-poitner to open the scoring in the fourth, though. The long-range shot cut the Belton lead to single digits and Crook's two free throws with less than two minutes to go cut the Lady Tigers' lead to 38-32.
"We talked about driving to the basket and making things happen. We always want to start our offense at half court and stay out there," said Lampasas coach Jenny Bowden. "We either have to make the defense commit and find the open person or draw the foul and that is what (Crook) did. We just waited a bit too late."
However, Lampasas never showed the sense of urgency they needed to complete the comeback and Belton's Emily Hugo hit 3-of-4 from the line to finish off the Lady Badgers.
"We talked about having a sense of urgency and obviously we didn't get it at the end of the game," Bowden said. "It is frustrating. We just have to have more intensity and we don't understand what the clock or each other is doing."