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Lake shocks Belmont with 46-44 win to capture 2022 Class 2A Girls Championship

D'Nara Barton earned MVP honors, with 12 points and 10 rebounds

JACKSON — The 21-year drought is over.

The Lake Hornets played some stingy defense and maximized the performance from MVP D’Nara Barton to take down defending state champion Belmont 46-44 to claim the MHSAA Girls Class 2A State Championship at the Mississippi Coliseum on Friday afternoon.

It’s the Lady Hornets' (24-3) third state title in school history and first state championship since 2001.

“Our seniors stepped up when they had too, especially in the crucial time of the game,” said Lake coach Maurice Bowie said. “They led us all year and had the will not to lose."

It was tight game throughout, with neither team holding a lead larger than five points.

Lake held a slim 11-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Belmont went on a 7-0 late in the second quarter to take a 24-21 lead, but Tra’shaylah Wilson hit back-to-back three-pointers — including one at the buzzer — to give the Lady Hornets a 27-26 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, Lake held the largest lead of the game at 39-34, but Belmont got back-to-back lay-ups to cut the lady Hornet lead down to 39-38 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth, Belmont took a 44-43 lead with 2:17 left on a lay-up by Kalea Koder.

Wilson hit a pair of free throws with just over a minute left to give Lake a 45-44 lead.

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Laneisha Palm took a charge with 17 seconds left, forcing Belmont to foul on the in-bounds play. Tra’shaylah Wilson made one of the two free throws, and Belmont's potential game-tying shot bounced harmlessly off the rim to give Lake the win.

D’Nara Barton had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead Lake and was the named the game’s most valuable player.

“All the hard work paid off. We’ve always been told to fight to very end and that’s what we did,” Barton said. “Second half we had to come out and do what we had to do. Defense wins games and that’s what we do is play defense.”

Tra’Shaylah Wilson had 13 points for Lake, while Laneisha Palm also had 12 points for the Lady Hornets.

“Both Barton and Wilson are seniors, and they are our leaders,” Bowie said. “I told the girls to follow. They’re not going to lose us the game, they’re going to put us in position to win the game. Barton killed the glass, made crucial free throws and some big shots for us.

“We had control of the game and kept trying to put it away and we told the girls defensively that we guard them and not give up easy lay-ups and get the ball out of their best players hands. We had to contest all the shots and double team the other players and we capitalized on their mistakes.”

Mary Grace Storment had a game-high 16 points to lead Belmont, while Carlie Brock added 15 points for the Lady Cardinals (27-6). Belmont shot 40 percent from the floor, making 20 of their 50 shots, but they were 1-for-8 from behind the 3-point arc, only took six free throws and made just three of those six.

“I thought we missed a lot of opportunities with shots around the basket,” said Belmont coach Chris Higginbottom. “Shots didn’t fall for us, and Lake made their opportunities. The three at half was huge and those missed opportunities came back and bit us.”

PHOTO GALLERY

(All photos by Austin Frayser)

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