West Union turned a close one into a blowout in a matter of minutes.
After Belmont cut the West Union lead to 7-6 on back-to-back buckets by Chad Nichols midway through the first quarter, the Eagles finished the frame on a 14-4 run and opened up a 19-point advantage by the break.
With its 67-38 win, West Union advances to the semifinals of the 5-County Eighth Grade Basketball Championships at the Bonner Arnold Coliseum on the campus of Northeast Mississippi Community College.
West Union will take on Baldwyn, who beat Corinth 43-22 to advance in the multi-day tournament, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 27.
West Union opened the game 7-2 but after four quick Cardinal points, the Eagles found themselves at a crossroads.
Jackson Herod heard the calling and led the Eagles on their 14-4 run to end the frame while three other Eagles checked into the scoring column during the spurt.
West Union used a stingy defense by trapping the Cardinal ball handlers just inside of half court to cause easy buckets for the Eagles.
Carson Conlee got the run going and back-to-back buckets by Herod made it a 13-6 game.
West Union kept the pressure on and baskets by Jack Rutherford and Herod put the Eagles up by double digits.
Closer to the basket, West Union was able to use its height and length to frustrate Belmont’s inside game and out rebound the Cardinals in the early going. West Union big men Jake Foreman and Rutherford combined for 17 first half points and 27 overall.
Gresham Melton capped the first quarter run with the final four points of the frame.
WEST UNION (67): Jack Rutherford 15, Jackson Herod 14, Jake Foreman 12, Walker Conlee 6, Carson Conlee 5, Gresham Melton 4, Corbin Lebo 3, Wyatt Swearingen 2, Cohen Moore 2, Bently Neal 2, Cole Coffey 2.
BELMONT (38): Khalil Luster 22, Chad Nichols 6, Langston Barker 4, Ayden Hastings 2, Kyle Estes 2, Burton 2.