All year long, the Lady Cardinals have used the motto “This is our time.” On Saturday, March 6, in the Mississippi Class 3A state basketball championship game in Jackson, it was their time.
In the 56-55 overtime win against Kossuth, Belmont walked away with its 12th state championship, the fourth under Coach Chris Higginbottom in his 16th season at the school.
Belmont defeated Kemper County, 61-29, on March 3 to make to a championship game rematch against Kossuth. Against Kemper County, Macie Walker finished with 31 points, Mary-Grace Storment had 8 points, Abby Kuykendall and Kassi Grimes added 6 points each, Kalea Koger chipped in 4 points, Brooklyn Hodum and Rayleigh Guin dropped in 3 points each.
In the championship game on Saturday, Belmont won in overtime against Kossuth, 56-55. Walker led the Lady Cardinals with 29 points, Abby Kuykendall had 12 points, Mary-Grace Storment finished with 8 points, Rayleigh Guin added 3 points, Kassi Grimes and Brooklyn Hodum contributed 2 points each.
“This team had a mentality, whatever we need to do to help our team win a state championship that is what we want to do,” Higginbottom said. “Every player on this team played a different role for our team and they all fulfilled their role and that is why we are the 2021 3A state champions! I cannot be any happier for a great group of girls.”
Walker received the Class 3A Most Valuable Player award for the championship game and Abby Kuydendall received the Scholar Athlete Award.
“To our surrounding Communities, you all have been so supportive as we have made this run to win Belmont’s 12th state championship,” Higginbottom said. “A program must have a supportive community to be successful and we definitely have that at Belmont! We all pulled together and made this happen! On behalf of the Belmont Lady Cardinal basketball program, we appreciate all of the generosity of businesses and many different people providing meals, food, drinks, and everything else. The community made this a very special experience that we will never forget. ‘Thank You All.’”
Belmont Fast Facts
- This was the 39th time Belmont girls have been to the state tournament
- Belmont has won 12 state championships in program history
- Belmont has played for the state championship 19 times, with a record of 12-7
- Coach Higginbottom just finished his 16th season at Belmont. He has led the Belmont Lady Cardinal basketball program to the state tournament 11 times. He also has led the Lady Cardinals to the state championship game 6 out of the last 12 years, where Belmont has won it 4 times. The 2021 3A Girls Championship is Coach Higginbottom’s 4th state championship.