BELMONT – Belmont’s focus is on next week’s division tournament, something the Lady Cardinals can control.
Good thing, because they didn’t win the regular season title because of a tiebreaker.
Belmont beat Booneville 65-51 Thursday and earned a bye in next week’s tournament, as well as a berth in the Class 3A North tournament, but finishes second in Division 1-3A to Kossuth after a three-way tie.
A loss would have put Belmont (16-9, 4-1 Division 1-3A) in third.
“It was a humongous win,” Belmont coach Chris Higginbottom said. “I thought we had a balanced game tonight.”
Balance and 3-pointers were key. Chloe Watson hit three of her team’s eight 3s.
“A lot of it came with practice,” said Watson, a sophomore. “We’ve been shooting a lot of 3s. It will show in the game, just like it did tonight.”
Third-place Booneville (20-5, 4-1) cut a 14-point halftime deficit to eight on buckets from Dashiyah Agnew and Adallice Young, but lone Belmont senior Natasha Jones’ 3 stretched the lead to 45-34, a lead Booneville could only get to nine.
Watson and Elisiah Jones scored 20 points each. Natasha Jones scored 13, Katelyn Nunley 12.
Young had 18 and Agnew 13 for Booneville.
“They were much better than we were tonight,” Booneville coach Michael Smith said. “They’re a really good team. I think they’re playing their best right now.”
(B) Booneville 78, Belmont 68: Back-and-forth through three quarters, Booneville overcame hot-shooting Belmont behind 22 points from senior Jack Nichols.
Booneville (16-8, 3-2) finishes third in the division. Belmont (15-8, 2-3), which could have finished second, fell to the four-seed.
Cameron Miller’s jumper put the Blue Devils ahead 72-60. Belmont cut it to eight twice, once on Cory Lindsey’s 3, one of 11 Belmont hit from deep.
Belmont had two foul out and three more with four.
“When we got in such severe foul trouble, we couldn’t keep them off the offensive boards” Belmont coach Guy Gardner said. “With their size and athleticism, they were getting second shot, third shot, fourth shot.”
Luke Alexander and Harrison Fancher each hit four 3s. Alexander had 25 points, Fancher 18.
Booneville also got 18 from Miller and 15 each from Joseph Caver and Bonner Powell.