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PREP HOOPS: Alcovy completes sweep of Ola

COVINGTON, Ga. — Alcovy was gifted a pair of victories to kick off Christmas week.

Playing host to Ola on Monday afternoon, the Alcovy girls’ and boys’ basketball teams came away victorious to sweep the doubleheader.

Alcovy Girls 43, Ola Girls 41

The Lady Tigers came into Monday looking for jolt of rejuvenation following back-to-back single-digit losses. They received just that in a nail-biting thriller against the Lady Mustangs.

“More than anything, I’m glad the girls were able to get a win for a confidence builder,” Alcovy head coach Justin Hunter said. “I’m really proud of them. Even with the losses, with the exception of one loss, all of them were games that could’ve gone either way if one or two things went differently.”

A costly technical foul shifted the momentum of the game late in the fourth quarter.

Less than a minute after Ola senior Niara Mills gave the Lady Mustangs a 38-37 lead, fellow senior Kalyn McMillan fouled Alcovy sophomore Carltajah Jackson on Jackson’s way to the basket. McMillan took objection to the call, earning a technical foul in the process.

Consequently, Jackson drained four straight free throws to put the Lady Tigers up 41-38 with 2:20 to go — a lead they would never relinquish.

“This game was a close one just like the last three that we played. The difference was the opportunities that we had from the free-throw line, I think, went much better,” Hunter said.

The Lady Tigers shot an abysmal 4% from the charity stripe in a 48-42 loss at M.L. King on Saturday. They were much improved Monday, going 15-for-22 on free throws.

Alcovy got off to one of its hottest starts of the season in the opening quarter. Just one week after scoring 5 first-half points in a 19-point performance at Monroe Area, the Lady Tigers opened the game with a 16-5 run.

Ola would eventually settle in during the second quarter, trailing 26-22 at the break.

Alcovy Boys 91, Ola Boys 76

Tiger head coach Mack Hardwick was the first to admit that it wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but the Tigers eventually wore down the Mustangs in a 15-point victory.

Early on in the game, everything was going Alcovy’s way. The club jumped out to a 27-10 lead in the first quarter, carrying that momentum into the second as the advantage grew as large as 37-16.

However, as Hardwick began rotating his second- and third-string players onto the court, their energy took a hit. The club became lethargic, allowing Ola to pull within 43-30 at the half and 61-49 at the end of the third quarter.

Alcovy turned back to its starters in the fourth quarter, but the damage had already been done. Ola eventually pulled as close 73-69 with 2:35 left in the game, but a late surge made the final score look much more lopsided than it had been.

“The problem I see at this point is we’re playing to the level of our opponent,” Hardwick said. “We’ve beat some teams that are really good and played really well against us. But I’ve seen when get to an opponent that we think we’re better than, we play lackluster basketball. Missed free throws, missed layups, missed rotations, things of that nature.”

Alcovy is scheduled to host Woodland for a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon starting at 12 p.m.