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PREP BASKETBALL: Alcovy hoops teams split region games against Lakeside Friday
Alcovy sophomore Serai Johnson nails a mid-range jumper during Friday's Lady Tiger win over Lakeside. - photo by Matthew Grimes

COVINGTON, Ga. — Friday night was a night of mixed results for the Alcovy Tigers basketball teams against region 3-AAAAAA foe Lakeside. 

The Lady Tigers pulled away from the Lady Panthers, 39-26, while the boys squad was handed a 79-70 defeat.  

In girls action, Alcovy would get in gear after a slow start from both teams, as it was scoreless until just over two minutes into the game when Lakeside took a 4-0 lead. Up 6-1, Lakeside gave up two straight three-pointers to Alcovy’s Ariyan Franklin to close out the quarter with Alcovy up 7-6.

In the second quarter, Alcovy began its surge and controlled the action while outscoring the Panthers 11-6. At the half, the Tigers lead 18-12 and never looked back.

In the second half the Tigers really pulled away, outscoring the Panthers 21-14 and stretching its lead to double digits for the first region win of the season. 

Lady Tigers coach Justin Hunter shed light on what changed in the second half.

“I think once our girls pretty much warmed into the game, they found their comfortable spots and executed,” Hunter said. “So not only was the effort there, but there was more execution throughout the entire game.”

The win was the second in three games, and gave Hunter hope that his team would start establishing some consistency. 

“That’s the thing that has been the main focal point of the whole season with such a young team with literally eight sophomores and only four upperclassmen,” he said. “So you have those moments that are kind of contradictory at times, but for the most part [the team] was consistent on the offensive and defensive end (against Lakeside).”

Alcovy (6-8, 1-1) couldn’t string consecutive wins together, however, as it lost 53-46 to Decatur on the road Saturday night in a non-region contest. 

Meanwhile, in a bit of role reversal, the Alcovy boys jumped out on Lakeside quickly, taking a seven point lead into the half. But a huge second-half run from Lakeside in the third quarter doomed the Tigers.

The game opened up with an electric first quarter as Alcovy scored in the first ten seconds. That blazing pace kept up, and Alcovy took a slim 18-17 lead into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, Alcovy spread the offensive wealth around efficiently as six different Tigers got into the scoring column in the quarter, en route to a 41-34 halftime advantage. 

The third quarter presented two totally different teams, however. The Tigers offense sputtered for a measly eight points while the Panthers went off for 26 points in the quarter. 

Head coach Mack Hardwick praised Lakeside and explained his team’s failing in the pivotal third period. 

Alcovy boys basketball coach Mack Hardwick sees potential in his Tigers squad - photo by Matthew Grimes

“[Lakeside] hit their shots,” Hardwick said. “We watched the film like we were supposed to, but we missed defensive assignments. We were clearly the better team, but we missed our shots.”

Hardwick’s confidence in his team was rewarded by a sterling fourth quarter run that brought Alcovy within two points of the lead with under two minutes to play. This comeback was fueled by senior AJ Paschal’s eight fourth quarter points. 

Like the girls, Hardwick’s bunch also dropped a close non-region contest Decatur Saturday night, losing 62-58.  It caused Alcovy’s record to fall to 4-10 overall and 0-2 in the region play. 

Both teams will look to get back in the winning column on Tuesday when they face another region opponent in Greenbrier.