BELTON — It’s often said patience is a virtue. It also happened to be a key ingredient to Temple’s success Tuesday afternoon.
Junior post Aniah Hall scored 10 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter when the Tem-Cats’ initial game plan played out as they envisioned, and Temple picked up a District 12-6A victory over rival Belton 43-29 at Tiger Gym.
“It’s just being able to be patient on the offensive end when you’re playing Belton, which runs a good zone,” said Tem-Cats head coach RaShonta LeBlanc, whose team made it a priority to methodically work the ball around the perimeter until it either got the ball inside to Hall or had an open look from outside the key. “When you get a lead, you’re able to draw them out of a zone because now they need the ball. So, it’s a game of patience when you’re playing Belton.”
Another 6-0 run from Temple that featured four points from Hall and a layup by Ky’Jsha Thompson provided the Tem-Cats’ largest lead of the contest, 43-27, that was narrowed only a smidgen with a free throw apiece from Small and Anna Beamesderfer over the final 3 minutes.
“My coach came up with the game plan and we just had to execute it. The guards told me what I needed to do and I just did it,” Hall said. “We spread the floor and that caused the defense to come up, and that left me open and my guards just found me.”
Colbert finished with eight points and Taliyah Johnson had six for Temple (7-5, 3-1), which shot 44 percent from the floor (17-of-38) and has won two straight — in part by holding both opponents to less than 30 points — since falling in overtime Dec. 15 to Ellison.
“Aniah Hall is always going to get her points and the guards do well getting her the ball. We just have to come up with something to be able to stop that from happening so easy,” said Belton coach Brenda Gomez, who added that the offense wasn’t as aggressive as it needed to be in terms of driving to the hoop and drawing contact. “We were 2-of-16 from the field (in the fourth quarter). So when you’re not hitting shots and they pull you out (of your defense), it’s difficult.”
Modeste’s putback and a 3 from Beamesderfer propelled Belton to an early 5-0 lead, and the Lady Tigers were up 8-4 after Modeste’s 3-pointer with 3:30 remaining in the opening quarter. Hall’s two free throws, a 3 by Johnson and Colbert’s backcourt steal and layup pushed Temple ahead 11-8 before Ayanna Jones buried a 3-pointer to tie it up for Belton. Hall scored the last three points of the quarter to make it 14-11.
The Tem-Cats pocketed a 23-16 cushion into the locker room but saw that dwindle to 23-20 less than 2 minutes into the third with buckets from Modeste and Maddux. Hall and Small traded layups to keep it a three-point margin until Colbert made two free throws and Hall converted inside to leave it 29-22 going into the last 8 minutes.
“We put a little pressure on them in the half-court setting and I think that helped out a lot. They knocked down some shots in the first quarter and first half. They were still able to get some shots off in the second half, but just consistently playing defense and applying more pressure, I think that helped,” LeBlanc said. “It’s a good win against Belton and now we have to move on to what’s next.”
Next for Temple is a nondistrict game Dec. 30 at Georgetown. Belton has two games slated for next week, at home Dec. 29 versus Austin Vandegrift and at Austin Lake Travis the following day.
12-6A GIRLS BASKETBALL
Harker Heights 4-0
Copperas Cove 0-4
- Bryan 55, Killeen 54
- Ellison 43, Copperas Cove 39
- Harker Heights 53, Shoemaker 43
- Temple 43, Belton 29