Alcovy opened region play with a decisive win over Griffin Tuesday that left little doubt the Tigers mean business this season.
Michael Tucker and Devin Gerald each drained three 3-pointers, Devon Edwards scored 10 points and 14 Alcovy players scored at least two points as the Tigers rolled past the Bears 70-28.
“We wanted to make sure we came out with the same intensity we had in our last game,” Alcovy coach Eugene Brown said. “A lot of times after a big win like that (over Newton Saturday) guys will have a letdown. We challenged them before the game to have the same mentality they had Saturday and they responded. That’s what we were looking for.”
After Griffin led 4-2 early in the opening period, the Tigers (4-1, 1-0 Region 3A-AAAA) went on assault and outscored the Bears 16-4 over the remainder of the first.
Up 21-8 in the early moments of the second quarter, Gerald hit back-to-back threes to extend Alcovy’s lead to 15. Gerald was fouled the next time down the floor on another 3-point attempt and made all three free throws then capped a scintillating run with another three to give him all 12 of his points over the span of six Alcovy possessions.
“Devin just came over and he wasn’t familiar with what we are trying to do defensively so it’s been slow working him in but he can always shoot the basketball. We see that every day in practice,” Brown said. “He’s getting more comfortable and as he understands the defense a little better he’s going to get a lot more playing time, particularly against the zone because he can stroke it.”
Edwards scored all of his points in the first half as well. The Tigers led 43-18 at halftime and only added to its lead in the third quarter. They outscored the Bears 14-6 and led 57-24 heading into the fourth.
Tucker continued his evolution into an all-around player. After a clutch performance in Alcovy’s stirring triple overtime win against Newton Saturday, Tucker hit shots from outside and scored off the dribble and in the paint. But it’s been his improvement on defense that has Brown smiling.
“He’s (Tucker) definitely much improved from last year. He’s playing on both ends of the floor which is the primary thing I’ve been impressed with,” Brown said. “His ball handling and shooting has rounded out as well but last year we couldn’t get him to play any defense. This year he’s one of our primary steals guy and he’s becoming a complete basketball player.”
Edwards and Tucker took the fourth quarter off as the two teams played the rest of the game out in a mercy rule-induced shortened period.
“These guys work hard in practice but we don’t just give guys playing time for the sake of giving them playing time. They earn it in practice,” Brown said. “We feel comfortable with putting 10 to 12 guys out there without a drop off as long as we rotate and keep the right personnel out there. All of them practice hard every day and when I get a chance to get them out there, I’m going to get them in.”
Edwards sat at the end of the bench with ice on his leg after suffering a thigh bruise in the first half. He isn’t expected to miss any time.
“Everyone was able to contribute tonight and that’s what we try and do in a game like this,” Brown said. “Devon is our guy when we need a basket, we go to him. He’s a little sore from Saturday and he’s still a little banged up from football so we try and get him rest. But these guys around him feed off his energy and they want to be able to help him. There’s a complete team out there.”
The Tigers are back in action tomorrow at Ola. They swept both games from the Mustangs last year.