HED:Rusty Kossuth takes care of Belmont
By D.E. Wheeler
KOSSUTH - The place to go for high school basketball fans in Northeast Mississippi Saturday was Kossuth where Belmont was visiting for a holiday contest.
The Kossuth Aggies responded in their second game of the season with some good intensity for a 53-44 win over the Cardinals while the Lady Cardinals intensity carried them to a 54-42 win.
"We're bad rusty and it will take a couple of games for us to get back going," said first year Kossuth boys coach Bo Coln, the Daily Journal's 1992 Player of the Year at Alcorn Central. "But we've definately improved since our first game."
After a close first 23 minutes, a 3-pointer by Phil Cummings gave Kossuth (1-1) a 37-34 lead. The Aggies continued to spurt at the start of the fourth quarter with T.J. Seago and Dusty Essary hitting 3-pointers as Kossuth built a 45-34 lead.
Belmont (4-5) could only cut the margin to eight points once, and Kossuth made 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch to ice the win.
"We played more poised and our seniors stepped up tonight," Coln said. "Overall, we played more poised in the second half."
Essary led Kossuth with 21 points while Nick Nelson led Belmont with 13. Kossuth led 12-9 after the first quarter and Belmont led 23-22 at the half.
In the girls game, the Lady Aggies (1-1) gave the Lady Cardinals (9-2) a good workout considering this was only Kossuth's second game of the season.
"We got some valuable playing time for our younger girls but Kossuth wouldn't stay down, they're a scrapy bunch," Belmont girls head coach Jesse Johnson said. "I was pleased with our press after we understood what we could get out of it."
Belmont's intense full-court effort bought a 10-0 run late in the second quarter. Two baskets by Trisha Swador started that run and helped the Lady Cardinals to a 26-16 halftime lead.
The Lady Cardinals continued its pressure with a 15-0 run to start the third period. That pressure also limited Kossuth to only one field goal in the quarter as Belmont built its lead to 41-19.
"I thought Swador hit some key baskets for us," Johnson said. "She's been out since the New Site tournament and we're glad to see her turn it up a notch tonight."
Swador led Belmont with 18 points while Allison Reader hit 27 for Kossuth, including five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter when the Lady Aggies got within 49-42 at one point.