MONROE, Ga. — Pushed to the brink in an early season road test, the Alcovy boys’ basketball team banded together against Monroe Area on Tuesday night.
The Tigers led for the entirety of the second half en route to pulling out a 62-60 victory over the Hurricanes.
Senior guard Trevon Howze and sophomore forward Steven Moore led the way offensively with 14 points apiece. They were joined in double figured by junior guard Byron Howard, who finished with 13 points, and sophomore Ben Hodges, who poured in 11 points from the guard and forward position.
“It was basically team basketball,” Alcovy head coach Mack Hardwick said. “They’re not being selfish. They’re not doing anything out of control. They’re not doing things that are outside our set. So, they’re playing composed and they’re playing because they’re coachable.”
A back-and-forth opening quarter saw the Tigers inch out an 18-17 lead when the final buzzer rang. In the second quarter, however, they began putting a little bit of space between themselves and the Hurricanes.
Clinging to a one-point lead with three minutes to go, Alcovy closed out the first half with a 10-3 run to head into the locker room leading 38-30. They pushed that advantage out to double figures in the third quarter, making it a 49-37 ballgame.
Monroe Area reapplied pressure. With an up-tempo approach and success under the basket, the Hurricanes trimmed their deficit down to 56-53 at the 1:18 mark.
But inside the final minute, clutch free throws from Howze and Howard, as well as a lockdown performance defensively, sealed the narrow victory.
“I just appreciate the growth, the basketball IQ that they have grown into and maturated,” Hardwick said of his club. “We’ve still got some things to work on, but there’s been a lot of growth.”
Sitting at 4-3 on the year, Alcovy has three games remaining before taking a hiatus for the holidays. The Tigers will travel to M.L. King on Saturday, then turn around to host Ola on Monday, Dec. 21, and Woodland on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
“I’m looking to see some more growth inside my bench because our depth is one of our biggest issues,” Hardwick said. “Other than that, I want to see them continue to play with the continuity and the same energy every single game. I want to see the same high-intensity basketball no matter who the opponent is.”