Al­covy hoopsters split with Salem

Boys pre­vail; Lady Tigers fall

The Covington News - - Sports - By Josh Briggs

For both the Al­covy boys and girls bas­ket­ball pro­grams, it’s been an up and down sea­son so far.

And on Tues­day it was no dif­fer­ent. The boys de­feated Salem in a sub-re­gion matchup, 45-40, while the girls were blown out yet again, 74-31.

“This is the time of the year when you want to get guys ready for the play­offs,” said Al­covy boys coach Eu­gene Brown. “Hope­fully, we’re peak­ing at the right time. I hope it’s the

time for us to peak.”

The Tigers (7-12 over­all, 2-5 Re­gion 8-AAAA South) en­tered the game high off their big win over crosstown ri­val New­ton last Satur­day, look­ing to build off their re­cent suc­cess.

The game was com­pet­i­tive from the start.

Both teams came out with good en­ergy, but it was Al­covy who made the first move. Ross Ba­gley had it go­ing early, hit­ting a 3-pointer and scor­ing five quick points as the Tigers fin­ished the first quar­ter on an 8-1 run, tak­ing a 17-12 lead into the sec­ond pe­riod.

While the two teams were en­er­gized, ef­fort alone couldn’t put the ball in the bas­ket dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter. The scor­ing came to a grind­ing halt as nei­ther team scored a field goal un­til well past the half­way mark of the quar­ter.

Al­covy only man­aged five points dur­ing the pe­riod to Salem’s seven, and clung to a 22-19 lead at half­time.

But Cody Ed­wards pro­vided the spark for the Tigers in the sec­ond half as he made two steals and had two big of­fen­sive re­bounds early in the third to keep his team ahead.

Salem (7-12, 2-7) never let the game get out of reach; how­ever, the Tigers led 32-31 head­ing into the fourth quar­ter, hop­ing to close the deal. They did. On a night when Salem’s de­fense shut down Al­covy’s lead­ing scorer, Wor­rel Cla­har, Ed­wards came up big, scor­ing five points over the fi­nal four min­utes of the game.

Ed­wards hit two free throws to put Al­covy up 39-33 with less than two min­utes to go. Salem an­swered right back, scor­ing back-to-back 3-point­ers to cut the lead to one with just over a minute re­main­ing.

Four more Al­covy free throws put the Tigers up, 4138, but Salem an­swered the next trip down the floor with a tip-in bas­ket to get it back to a three-point game.

With five sec­onds left and a chance to tie, Salem turned the ball over off the in­bound pass and Al­covy sank two more free throws to seal the vic­tory.

“We’re start­ing to find the com­bi­na­tions we can put out there on the floor and still be pro­duc­tive,” said Brown. “Hope­fully, we’re get­ting our strength to­gether at the right time, and we can get some mo­men­tum go­ing down the stretch.”

Ed­wards and Ba­gley each had 10 points to lead the Tigers, while Cla­har added eight.

Ear­lier Tues­day, the Lady Tigers had no an­swer for a de­ter­mined Salem squad, who just came off beat­ing the No. 6 team in the state (Jones County).

Al­covy (1-18, 1-6) started the game by scor­ing the first bucket, but was un­able to keep it go­ing as the Lady Semi­noles (15-6, 8-3) an­swered back with 24 straight points.

“We didn’t play (Salem) like we did last time,” said Al­covy girls coach Suzanne Smith. “We’re strug­gling right now. I just told them they had to play through it. Keep play­ing your de­fense, play tough and don’t get dis­cour­aged about it.”

In all fair­ness, Salem en­tered the game as hot as any school in Class AAAA, hav­ing won eight out of its last nine games, and in a tight bat­tle with Her­itage for the top spot in the sub-re­gion stand­ings.

Al­covy got some of­fen­sive con­ti­nu­ity go­ing in the sec­ond quar­ter as Tif­fany Moody scored seven straight points to give her team a much needed lift. But Salem still led 34-12 at the in­ter­mis­sion.

The Lady Semi­noles put the game away in the third by net­ting 27 points, and led 61-19 head­ing into the fi­nal frame.

But the Lady Tigers never quit, it’s just that Salem was too tough to fold.

De­spite the lop­sided loss, Smith was quick to point out Al­covy’s lone bright spot.

“Tif­fany played well,” ac­knowl­edged Smith. “Ac­tu­ally, her shots were off tonight. If she had made half the shots she put up, it would have been bet­ter. It wasn’t her best game, but if it weren’t for her, we wouldn’t (have) been in the game.”

Moody scored 18 to lead Al­covy, while her sis­ter, Mea­gan, added five.

Court­ney Hurt had an­other big night for the Lady Semi­noles, scor­ing 31 points to lead all scor­ers.

BROWN

SMITH

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