COVINGTON - The Alcovy boys improved their Region 4-AAAA record to 5-3 after beating the Ola Mustangs 62-49, while free-throw shooting cost the Lady Tigers a one-point loss in Tuesday night's doubleheader.
Alcovy 62, Ola 49
After trying new things in the first half, the Tigers (9-6 overall) got down to business in the third quarter to open up a 46-26 lead after closing the first half leading 26-18.
"In the first half, I tried to play a lot of guys. It's been a long season, we need to solidify our bench a little bit," Alcovy coach Eugene Brown said. "We had different combinations with guys that really don't have continuity together."
With the regular starters on the court in the third quarter, the Tigers opened up a big lead, closing the period with a 12-0 run.
Playing a key role in Alcovy's domination in the quarter was Nick Wilson, who drew two charges, scored four points and collected a steal.
"Nick is probably leading the country in charges, he's got about 20 of them. We've played 15 games and he takes at least one per game, some games has more than others," Brown said. "He does all the little stuff we need."
Alcovy extended its lead to 52-30 before pulling the starters for the rest of the game.
Finishing the game as Alcovy's top scorer was Jamieson Smith, who had 10 points, followed by Brad Williams (9) while Kevin Boyle and Darius Miller had eight each.
"We've been struggling offensively. Most of the times we've been playing a lot of zones," Brown said. "When we play man, we play with confidence. We have to work on our zone until we get more comfortable."
Ola 45, Alcovy 44
Two things kept the Lady Tigers from giving Ola their first region win - the first was Ola's Paige Nowacki, who scored 20 points, and the second was the Lady Tigers, making only 11 of their 22 free throw attempts.
"It was really a tough one. We focused in practice the last few days on Ola. We talked about trying to shutting (Nowacki) down and her being the heart of their offense. Obviously, we didn't do a very good job of taking care of her on the defense side," Lady Tigers coach Kidada Holtzclaw said. "We hit 50 percent in practice. It's something we need to work on. I think it's mostly nerves. Our girls lack a little bit of confidence when it comes to getting to the free throw line. It's something we've been harping all week long, you've got to shoot better free throws."
In the opening period, Alcovy led two times but eventually trailed 11-10 before the Lady Mustangs closed the quarter outscoring the home team 6-1.
Ola extended its lead to 23-14 midway through the second frame before the Lady Tigers took advantage of several Ola errors.
Alcovy scored eight points to Ola's two in the final three minutes of the half to trail 25-22 at the half.
"We had a lot of opportunities to get offensive rebounds and putbacks that we didn't capitalize on," Holtzclaw said. "Our girls have to realize that we need to play with more heart and be more aggressive. Once we are able to do that we'll be able to win more games."
Ola took a 32-26 lead after a lackluster third period.
In the final eight minutes, Lisa Kossally and Alex Tucker turned up the heat scoring 10 and eight points.
Kossally led Alcovy with 17 points, followed by Tucker's 10.
"Lisa was definitely a different person. She brought a lot of defensive intensity and she was very aggressive. She got her teammates involved and that's something we want to capitalize on," Holtzclaw said.
The Lady Tigers took a 37-36 lead with 3:58 to go on a 3-pointer by Tucker only to lose it on back-to-back baskets by Savannah Cook and Nowacki with 1:31 left in the game.
However, Alcovy stayed in the fight, taking a 44-43 lead on a Kossally basket with 23 seconds left in the game.
Just as she had done all game, Nowacki beat Alcovy's defense going around the set player in the post sinking the winning layup with 9.6 seconds.
"What we're harping on the sideline is when you get up you have to put your foot on the gas pedal. We weren't able to do that," Holtzclaw said. "We gave up some easy shots to (Nowacki) at the end, posting up and driving past us. We had a few defensive lapse's at the end."