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Posted: January 12, 2013 7:51 p.m.

Alcovy wins SEC battle

Rockdale was a great place to see Southeastern Conference basketball Friday night, and you didn't have to travel to a college campus to do so.

During Rockdale's matchup against Alcovy in girls' basketball action, three already SEC-signed players were on the court with more talent surrounding them.

All that talent played out on the court for an entertaining game with Alcovy coming out on top, with the Lady Tigers talent coming out on top.

Coming into the game, Alcovy knew it needed to limit Rockdale's Breanna Richardson, who will play for Mississippi State next, and did so by matching Division I player with Division I player.

Alcovy's Ashley Williams guarded Richardson throughout, limiting her to just one field goal in the first half and a total of 11 points in the game.

"We know she's a really good player, who's very athletic and we thought we would match our defensive effort against her with somebody her own size and caliber of player," Alcovy coach Kidada Holtzclaw said. "And (Williams) did a good job."

Williams, who has signed a letter of intent with Alabama, helped lead the Lady Tigers (8-3, 5-0 Region 2-AAAAAA) to a fast start, running the floor after a block by a teammate for two of her four points during Alcovy's 9-0 run.

Williams had 12 of her eight points in the first half, with six coming in the first quarter.

Alcovy led 13-6 after the first eight minutes and scored the first bucket of the second quarter before Rockdale started to come back. The Lady Bulldogs (8-6, 2-2) went on a 10-2 run to pull within three on Bianca Riley's jumper.

Rockdale hit four free throws during the run, two each by Richardson and Sidney Fields.

The Lady Bulldogs used a full-court press during the run, helping to lead to nine turnovers and just 10-of-26 shooting in the first half for Alcovy.

Entering the second half leading 21-16, Alcovy turned up its own defense while executing the preparations it made on Rockdale's pressure to pull away.

"We talked about our key to winning was to control the tempo," Holtzclaw said. "I thought they would try to slow us down with their 2-2-1 full-court trap, they were very successful in doing that, and that's something we prepared for. I thought we handled it pretty well."

The Lady Tigers scored the first seven points, the capper coming on a layup and ensuing free throw by Megan Tucker after a steal on the other end.

Alcovy opened the first four minutes of the second half with three steals, leading the way to five turnovers in that time span.

"We just felt like the game was going to be won on the defensive end," Holtzclaw said. "Once we started getting people moving and rotating, settling down, keeping people in front of us, we were able to get some steals and keep them back on their heels."

Tucker had three steals during that span, and finished with five.

The Auburn signee led the Lady Tigers with 17 points.

"She played a great game today," Holtzclaw said. "She played like a Division I college basketball player."

Alcovy forced 14 of Rockdale's 21 turnovers in the second half with its two SEC-committed players coming out on top of a game filled with talent.

"It's just great basketball," Holtzclaw said. "It says a lot to how far girls' basketball has come in the two counties. It's great for the game."

Alcovy stepped out of region play against Westlake Saturday before returning to league play at Luella Tuesday.

"I'm hoping that we continue to move on an upward slope," Holtzclaw said. "I felt like the second half we played today was probably some of the best basketball we played all year."

 

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