The Leander Lions are now 4-1 overall in the regular season after defeating the Belton Tigers in a buzzer beater, 43-42 on Monday at home.
The entire game was a chess match between Leander’s head coach Clint Bradley and Belton’s David President. At the end of the first quarter, both teams showed strong defenses and were tied 11-11. Leander’s leaders from the beginning were senior guard, David Bonner, and junior forward, Kobe Thompson, who both scored five points in the first. Belton had a variety of players get involved but junior guard Carson Hammond was a consistent playmaker for the Tigers.
“We feel pretty good being able to get a win after losing three straight in our tournament,” Bonner said.
The slugfest continued into the second quarter as Belton led at the end of the half 21-18. Bonner continued to dominate the game as the teams traded baskets. For Belton, senior Jordan Russell kept the team alive with a clutch, six-point-performance in the quarter. But neither could gain an upper hand as the third quarter ended in yet another tie, 33-33.
“The good thing is, I don’t think that we played our best basketball, but we were able to get the victory, which that is huge for us,” Bradley said. “They kept fighting, they didn’t doubt themselves, and then we were able to make a play late, and got the win.”
With three seconds left in the game, junior point guard Kristian Murphy scored the final shot to put the Lions in the lead. However, the play was actually designed for another teammate.
“It was exciting,” Murphy said. “It was supposed to be for Kobe, but then we kind of just scrambled around and I ended up getting the ball, so I just went to the rim and scored.”
The Lions’ defense was able to hold Belton’s offense just long enough for the clock to run out and take the hard-fought victory.
Next up for Leander will be the Lion Classic tournament December 10-12, and then their district opener against Georgetown (3-5) on December 18 at home.
“Georgetown is a tough opponent,” Bradley said. “They are very good defensively, and we’re going to have to work on handling their pressure.”
Jack Densmore is a senior at Leander High School participating in the Texas Top 100 Academy for Young Writers program. He also serves as the editor-in-chief for the LHS online newspaper. Follow him on Twitter at @densmorejack.