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PREP BASKETBALL: Alcovy's second half improvements not enough to overcome first half woes
Alcovy's Avion Young led his team in scoring and had a solid night despite the Tigers first-half woes. Photo by Garrett Pitts.

COVINGTON, Ga. - Despite a late fourth-quarter comeback led by junior Avion Young, the Alcovy Tigers 
(9-7, 2-1) were still not able to overcome the rough first half against the Grovetown Warriors (13-3, 2-1) in a 67-58 game Tuesday night.

Going into the region matchup, Alcovy had won three consecutive games, being 2-0 in region play up to that point. 

After a few points early by Jamal Donahue, the Tigers were able to get to an early lead, but the fast-paced Warriors were able to capitalize in transition and take over the first half of the game.

This good transition offense is something that head coach Mack Hardwick felt played the biggest role in the early stages of the game, which allowed Grovetown to stretch the lead.

“I have to give credit to [coach Douglas],” Hardwick said. “He made sure they became a track-style team. He was getting the ball out and getting a lot of early offense. Even at half-court, they were making sure to rotate the ball.”

The Tigers scored eight points in each of the first two quarters but eventually went into halftime down 40-16.

“When [we] pressed on them, we were able to slow them down in spurts, but the big thing is we were missing our layups and our free-throws as well,” Hardwick said. “We would make our little runs, but it would be nullified because they would make their layups, but we would miss ours.”

After a strong third quarter from the Tigers, which brought the Grovetown lead down to 50-33, the fourth quarter would be a tough one for Warriors, as the Tigers would go on a hot streak.

Junior Avion Young and senior Dylan Driver would be the duo to carry the Alcovy offense closer and shorten the lead late in the fourth quarter.

During the final four minutes of the game, Young caught fire, scoring 17 in the quarter, which is more than any other player scored during the entire game for the Tigers. 

“We really appreciated [Avion’s game]. He closed the gap by himself. He is that type of player,” Hardwick said.

Even after the big fourth quarter, the Tigers were not able to take the lead from Grovetown, losing with a final score of 67-58.

Hardwick talked after the game about how being without star forward Oliver Gerard would prove to be a big role in the game’s outcome.

The Tigers were led offensively by Young, who finished the game with 23 points, as well as Driver, who scored 12 points.

“The biggest role [in the game tonight] was Oliver Gerard not being able to play tonight,” Hardwick said. “[His absence] was without a doubt the main reason, if we had Oliver, we would have won this game tonight.

After falling to 2-1 in region play, the Tigers will stay at home as they prepare to play region opponent Lakeside Panthers (8-7, 2-1) Friday, Jan. 10.