Belmont Lady Cardinals continue dominance in county rivalry

By Blake Long/Special to the Journal

IUKA – Belmont seniors Angelia Allen and Leslie Robinson were all smiles after Tuesday’s game with Tishomingo County, and with good reason.
Allen, Robinson and the rest of the senior class at Belmont remained undefeated in their careers against their county rival with a 67-49 road victory over the Lady Braves.
“It feels good,” said Robinson, who with her fellow seniors is one game away (Jan. 27 at home) from being perfect in her career against Tish. County. “It’s always a harsh environment.”
The Lady Cardinals, ranked 5th by the Daily Journal, looked to pull away early even with an obnoxious crowd. Robinson (15 points) started the game with a 3-ball to help Belmont build a quick six-point lead.
But Danielle Blakney caught fire for Tish County and kept them in it. The senior downed four three-pointers in a span of just over two minutes, with her final three putting the Lady Braves up 20-19 with twenty seconds to play in the quarter.
Belmont’s defense adjusted after the first, which they led 22-20 after an old-fashioned three-point play by Jada Luster, and Blakney would not score another point the rest of the game.
“They figured it out,” Tishomingo County coach Lauren Ford Whitson said. “Danielle can shoot the basketball and they got somebody out there to guard her. I expected that.”
Cold spell
Blakney wasn’t the only player to go cold for the Lady Braves. In fact, most of the team did as Tishomingo County (11-6) only scored 14 points combined the second and third quarters.
Anna Claire Griffin scored nine of those points, finishing with a team-high 20.
“I think that was the key of the game,” Lady Cardinals coach Chris Higginbottom, who himself hasn’t lost to Tishomingo County in seven years at Belmont, said. “I thought our pressure gave them fits.”
Allen was big for the Lady Cardinals in the second half. Leading 35-26 at halftime, Allen’s free throw for Belmont’s first point of the third quarter put them ahead by double-digits for good.
Belmont (14-3) led 50-34 after three before Allen, who had a game-high 30 points, gave the Lady Cardinals their biggest lead of 22 points on a layup with two minutes to play.
(B) Tish County 60, Belmont 49: Darius Green dropped in 27 points to lead the Braves (8-8). Wesley Brandon led four double-digit scorers for Belmont (7-8) with 16.