Tigers

Belton’s Trap Johnson (23) lays in a shot in front of Georgetown East View’s Jakson Derr during the Tigers’ victory Tuesday night.

BELTON — Tuesday’s game inside Tiger Gym started ahead of schedule. Belton’s offense didn’t get the memo and arrived a tad late to the foray. The Tigers’ defense, on the other hand, was there from the jump.

Belton’s press held down the fort, and Georgetown East View for that matter, as the points eventually poured in, and the Tigers made it four straight wins with a 66-43 non-district nod over the Patriots.

“I thought tonight was a good example of shots not falling early, but we stuck with it,” Belton coach Jason Fossett said. “If the defense holds, we’ll stay in the game and eventually we’ll start hitting shots. That’s what happened tonight.”

Nine Tigers had at least two points and seven of them made at least one 3-pointer. TJ Johnson, a Lipscomb signee, had a team-high 15 points. Trent West added 12, Trap Johnson 11 and Seth Morgan nine for Belton (4-1), which entered averaging 80 points over its previous three outings.

An eight-point opening quarter on 3-of-11 shooting left the Tigers with some work to do toward reaching that total once more, but they wound up shooting 46 percent from the field (26-of-57) and leading by as much as 27 points.

“We had a really bad first quarter, but (the Patriots) had something to do with it. They came out and were aggressive, physical,” said Fossett, whose team quickly erased a three-point deficit after one quarter by posting 18 of the first 21 points in the second while creating and cashing in turnovers. “The second quarter, we ramped up the defense a little bit and it led to some easy buckets for us. And once you see a couple (shots) go through, it helps. We got it rolling in the second and I thought, for the most part, in the third and fourth quarter, we played pretty well, too.”

Jeremy Helton posted 15 points, Jakson Derr nine, and Peyton Adams eight for East View (2-3), which committed 10 of its 27 turnovers in the second quarter and finished 18-of-46 from the floor.

Peyton Euer’s 3-pointer that pulled the Tigers within 11-8 with 1:11 left in the opening quarter was their first bucket since Bryan Henry’s layup put Belton up 5-2 at the 4:50 mark of a chilly shooting period for both squads, which combined to go 8-of-23.

The Tigers triggered their offense by way of the aforementioned press defense as the second quarter commenced. Tied at 14 about 3 minutes into the second, Belton embarked on a 12-0 run that featured Henry’s steal and assist to Trap Johnson for a layup, TJ Johnson’s 3, a pair of West free throws, Morgan’s corner 3-pointer and another bucket by Trap Johnson, and the Tigers took a 31-22 lead into halftime.

“We just put the pressure on them and that helped us get open,” Morgan said. “We struggled in the first, but the shots started falling in the second.”

West and TJ Johnson combined for 13 of Belton’s 19 third-quarter points. Johnson’s layup with 5 minutes left in the frame put the Tigers up by 20 for the first time. EJ Foutz’s steal and layup in the fourth quarter provided Belton its largest buffer at 66-39.

“You take something away from every game to work on. It was a good win going into the weekend,” Fossett said.

Next up for Belton is a packed weekend at the Cedar Creek tournament, with two games on tap for Thursday and Friday, and possibly more Saturday. West said the Tigers will benefit from the busy agenda ahead.

“We need a lot of practice before we get into district,” he said.