JACKSON — There wasn’t anything pretty about it, but the Belmont Lady Cardinals got it done Tuesday morning in the Class 2A Girls Semifinals against West Lincoln.
In a game where neither team distinguished itself shooting the ball, Belmont took a big lead early and held on for a 39-18 win to advance to the 2A Championship.
The Lady Cardinals will face Lake High School Friday at 1 p.m. with a state championship on the line.
“When you come down in these games with so much on the line, often your weakest part of your game is your offense,” Belmont coach Chris Higginbottom said. “So you better be sure you are doing everything else well, and that is rebounding, playing good defense and making free throws.”
The Lady Cardinals (27-5) had all three of those aspects covered Tuesday, and in spades.
Belmont out-rebounded their opponents 38-20, got to the free throw line early and often — making 18 out of 26 from the stripe — and absolutely smothered the West Lincoln offense, holding the Bears to two field goals in the entire game.
“In practice, we spent a lot of time on defense (for this game),” Belmont senior Rayleigh Guin said. “They told us (West Lincoln) had a lot of players who could score, so we spent a lot of time preparing for them.”
Whatever preparations they made, it worked. West Lincoln shot just eight percent from the field, making two of their 24 shots. 14 of their 18 points came via the free throw.
Belmont wasn’t much more proficient — the Lady Cardinals shot 23 percent as a team, making just nine of 40 shots.
“It was one of those games where we just had to drive to the basket and hope they called a foul,” Guin said.
Guin finished with 14 points to lead all scorers. Mary-Grace Storment scored 10 and Kat Reno played a huge role with a game-high 12 rebounds for Belmont.
Ta’kyla Brothern led West Lincoln with five points.