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Tigers hold on for first region win
Boys get close victory; girls can't match N. Clayton's size

COVINGTON - Alcovy almost let a 17-point lead get away, but the Tigers were able to hold on to get their first Region 8-AAA win against North Clayton on Tuesday.

The boys won their game 62-59 while the girls lost 56-45.

BOYS

Alcovy 62, North Clayton 59

In the first half of the boys game, the Tigers allowed North Clayton to stay close as a result of turnovers and poor free-throw shooting.

The Tigers were 5 of 12 from the line as they went into halftime leading 25-23.

However, Alcovy came out the third quarter as a totally different team, holding on to the ball and playing more aggressively.

Already leading 30-26, the Tigers went on a 16-5 run to end the third, including big dunks by Jordan Butts, who paced the team with 15 points, and Darius Miller, who finished with 11 points, which invigorated the crowd.

Just as quickly as Alcovy had a spark, the Tigers seemed to lose it in the fourth period.

"They played really great defense through the third quarter, but that fourth quarter, we let it get away," Alcovy boys coach Eugene Brown said. "They pretty much did everything we asked defensively. They stayed in front of people, we boxed out and gave them one shot. That's how we got ahead."

After Jamieson Smith, who had 10 points in the win, sank a pair of free throws to give the Tigers a 48-31 lead, North Clayton began going through Alcovy's defense, scoring quickly and often.

By the time the Tigers took a step back to assess the situation, the Eagles cut their deficit from 48-31 to 51-48.

With time on Alcovy's side, North Clayton was forced to foul Alcovy, which almost worked to the Eagles' advantage.

In the final two minutes, Alcovy was 3 of 10 from the foul line. The Tigers finished the game at 50 percent (17 of 34) from the line.

Luckily for Alcovy, the Eagles were not much better, only making 46 percent (23 of 50).

"We missed a ton of free throws, but we had some guys making some big plays down the stretch. We made it as hard as we possibly could, but we finally got it done," Brown said. "There were a couple of bad free-throw shooting teams out there, but someone had to win. I'm glad it was us."

North Clayton's Zachary Bradley led all scorers with 17 points, followed by Jeffrey Newberry with 15.

GIRLS

North Clayton 56, Alcovy 45

It was almost like David versus Goliath as the Lady Eagles towered over the Alcovy players.

Three of the Lady Eagles' players are listed at 5-foot-11 or taller.

However, the Lady Tigers weren't intimidated as they fought hard but failed to make headway, trailing 27-16 at the half.

Alcovy could have closed the gap and possibly changed the tempo of the game had the Lady Tigers made more of their free throws in the opening period.

"We're smaller in size, so rebounding and blocking out is very key," Alcovy girls coach Kidada Holtzclaw said.

The Lady Tigers came out to start the second half taking charge and putting the ball in the hoop to outscore North Clayton 18-13 in the third frame.

But they were unable to maintain the momentum in the fourth, giving back any ground they made up.

Alcovy's Kate Palo had a game-high 15 points, followed by North Clayton's Crystal Nwapara (14) and Valencia Williams (12).

Also scoring in double figures for the Lady Tigers were Alex Tucker (10) and Tiffany Moody (10).

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.