By JAY TIDWELL/Sports Writer BOONEVILLE — South Pontotoc matched Belmont for three quarters. It was the one that got away that made the difference. Belmont, the reigning Class 3A state champion, capitalized on a scoring surge in the second quarter to build a cushion that South was unable to overcome, as the Lady Cougars lost 85-59 last Monday in the Kiwanis Invitational basketball tournament in Booneville. C.C. Costilow led South with 19 points, Emily Henson scored 12, and Cortney Collums added 10, in the contest played in Bonner Arnold Coliseum at Northeast Mississippi Com-munity College. “We played them for three quarters even,” said South Pontotoc head coach Matt Waldrop. “They’re up 20 at the half and they’re up 20 at the end of the third quarter. When they got that lead was about the last four minutes of the second quarter. When I mean they got a lead, they run it up.” One of those helping pile up points for Belmont (8-1, 3-1 in Region 1-3A) was Angelia Allen, who finished with a game-high 39. “Belmont did a good job bringing the pressure and going to the boards and getting stickbacks,” Waldrop said. “They’re unrelenting in pressing and they make you play sloppy. They had a girl (Allen) who didn’t miss too many open looks.” SP second quarter slump South led 13-12 after an assist from Costilow to Lexi Wilson with 1:18 remaining in the first quarter. But Belmont started a short run and South trailed 18-13 by the end of the period. An assist from Collums to Costilow for a 3-pointer slowed the surge with 4:22 left in the second quarter, but a steal and layup by Belmont’s Leslie Robinson breathed life back into it and the Lady Cardinals finished the half with a 46-23 advantage. “C.C. played well and continued to scrap and battle and Cortney was relentless,” Waldrop said. “You can count on those two game in and game out. We have other players who are talented that we want to play harder on defense.” The Lady Cougars pulled as close as 66-46 late in the third period on free throws by Costilow with :46 left, but couldn’t get closer. South was also handicapped with foul problems. Emily Henson picked up her third with 6:08 showing in the second quarter and Costilow fouled out with 4:32 remaining in the game. “When Emily had so many fouls, that hurt us,” said twin sister Elizabeth Henson, who finished with seven points. “She’s our only point guard that handles the ball good.” Tough non-division schedule Waldrop said the Belmont game was an example of the caliber of non-division competition he wants his team to face. “You can pad your record or you can try to get better,” Waldrop said. “If you pad your record, it wasn’t worth anything if you don’t learn something from having played. So I want to play the best teams.”

 

Jay Tidwell

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