Coach David Baker’s Alcovy Lady Tigers almost learned the hard way that they have to play all four quarters as they withstood a furious fourth-quarter comeback by the Morrow Lady Mustangs before securing a harder-that-it-should-have-been 61-52 victory.
With the win, Alcovy improved to 6-14, and 4-4 in Region 2-AAAAAA. Morrow fell to 6-11, and 1-4 in region play.
“We really showed what Alcovy basketball is all about,” Baker said. “We’ve been waiting on this for a long time. It took getting some games under our belt – some tough losses – to get us to this point. We found where we can still use improvement, but I’m proud of the girls. A win is a win.”
In the first quarter, sophomore forward Tierra Hodges scored the Lady Tigers’ first eight points and Alcovy jumped out to a 16-8 lead.
In the second period, senior point guard Waneshia Morris scored 11 of Alcovy’s 21 points, including seven consecutive points that included a 3-pointer, to stake the Lady Tigers to a 37-14 halftime lead.
Two quick buckets put Alcovy up 41-14 at the 7:30 mark of the third quarter. The highlight of the period was a steal, drive and basket by senior guard Daja Barnes that gave the Lady Tigers a 45-19 lead with 4:40 left in the third.
Throughout the game, Alcovy’s defense and quick hands created Morrow turnovers leading to lots of scoring opportunities for Hodges, Morris and Barnes, who chipped in 14 points.
Perhaps as a bit of foreshadowing, though, Morrow wasn’t going to just roll over. Matching the few snowflakes earlier in the day, a quick Lady Mustangs’ flurry in the final minute cut Alcovy’s lead to 55-29 after three.
That’s when the game got interesting.
Alcovy went nearly six minutes of the fourth with nothing but a single free-throw to show for its efforts. At the 5:35 mark, Morrow cut the lead to 55-36, and with 3:52 left, the the Lady Mustangs were down 55-41.
Finally, a Hodges’ free throw and a Barnes’ jumper put the Lady Tigers up 58-43 with 1:49 left. However, Morrow reeled off seven straight points to narrow the gap to 58-50 with 34.4 seconds to play.
Discomfort was noticeable on the Alcovy sideline. But, the Lady Tigers made a basket, had a steal and made a foul-shot in the waning minutes of play, securing the final 61-52 margin of victory.
“We talked at halftime about how they (Morrow) were not going to give up,” Baker explained. “They (the girls) got to see in that game how you don’t let up and you’ve got to play the full game. We came out with a ‘W,’ but that’s what we’re going to work on tomorrow – closing out games.”
Hodges led Alcovy with 26 points, and Morris added 17. Morrow’s Da’ja Green led all scorers with 30 points.