Choctaw Central's Kaedre Denson (4) alters the shot by Belmont's Macie Walker (12) in a semifinal game of the MHSAA C Spire State Basketball Championships at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, Miss., on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.
Choctaw Central's Kaedre Denson (4) alters the shot by Belmont's Macie Walker (12) in a semifinal game of the MHSAA C Spire State Basketball Championships at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, Miss., on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.
JACKSON - The Choctaw Central Lady Warriors saw their quest for a third straight Girls State Class 3A state basketball championship come to a disappointing end Wednesday as they lost a 48-37 decision to Belmont in the semifinal round at the Mississippi Coliseum.

The Lady Warriors finished the season with a 32-3 record.

“They came out and made shots and we didn’t,” said Coach Bill Smith. “Usually we are the ones that make the three-point shots and we might have had three the whole game.

“We knew they would spread it out and hold it if they ever got the lead and that’s exactly what they did.  We cut it to four one time after being down by 12; we didn’t make the shots when we had to.”

The Lady Warriors had plenty of shots at the goal but ball just would not go in. For the game, they hit 14-of-51 (21.4%) of their field goal attempts, and connected on 3-of-22 (13.6%) of their three-point shots. Choctaw Central was 7-of-11 (63.6%) from the free throw line.

Belmont hit on 13-of-23 (56,5%) of their field goals and hit 4-of-8 (50%) from three-point land. The Cardinals put in 17-of-21 (81%) of their free throws.

After the opening minutes of the game, Choctaw Central would not lead again. Belmont led 12-9 after the first quarter. Both teams scored 13 points in the second quarter and the Cardinals led 25-21 at the half.

Victory was still in the Lady Warriors’ grasp throughout most of the second half but cold shooting prevented the Lady Warriors from getting one of their 10-to-15 point runs going. The Cardinals carried a 36-30 lead into the final quarter. Belmont would outscore the Lady Warriors 11-8 in the final eight minutes of play as they took the win and advanced to the state finals. There, they lost a 48-44 decision to Kossuth.

“We played hard and you have to give a lot of credit to Belmont,” Smith said. “I don’t know what their shooting percentage was in the second half but they didn’t miss many free throws. We had a couple of easy buckets inside the lane that we missed. Today, Belmont was the better team. That’s all it was to it.”

Meloney Thames led the Lady Warriors with 13 points while senior Kaedre’ Denson added 12 points.

Macie Walker led Belmont with 25 points while Karmen Payne added 10.

“There is nothing we do about it now,” Smith said. “This season is over. We’ll pick up the pieces and get ready for next year.”