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Second half surge lifts Tigers to Elite Eight

Alcovy's Devon Edwards goes up for a layup Bainbridge's Justin Baker (22) and Trea Kelly (30) watch.

Alcovy's Devon Edwards goes up for a layup Bainbridge's Justin Baker (22) and Trea Kelly (30) watch.

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Bainbridge's Mike Jones (24) tries to stop Alcovy's Deondre Butler (1) from sinking his shot.

COVINGTON -- Alcovy's Devin Gerald was not the high scorer for the Tigers, but he was the spark Alcovy needed to boost it over Bainbridge with a 74-65 win on Wednesday.

The victory will send the Tigers (27-3) to the Elite Eight against North Clayton, who beat Ware County 63-47, at Fort Valley State University at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

"These guys are young and they haven't been this far, I haven't been this far in a while, so it's all new to these guys," said Alcovy head coach Eugene Brown.

Gerald finished the night with four 3s for 12 points with two of his treys coming in the second quarter allowing the Tigers to close the gap to 22-20. Devon Edwards, who had 21 points, tied the game at 26 with a final basket at the buzzer to end the first half.

"I told him that we he was the spark we needed in the middle of the second quarter to get us going. He did an outstanding job," said Brown of Gerald. "He's a phenomenal shooter. We see it everyday in practice."

In the first half, the Tigers were 3-for-9 from 3-point range. In the third period they were hitting their shots going 6-for-8. Also giving Alcovy the push it needed to pull away from the Bearcats (23-6) was its ability to play an up tempo game even when Bainbridge was trying to slow it down so it could catch its breath.

"We knew they only played six or seven guys and they were bent over in the second half. We thought we'd be able to keep pushing the ball and keep running our guys out there and keep the tempo up," Brown said. "The same thing happened with Forest Park, they wanted to slow it down,"

Alcovy opened the game up in the third frame, scoring as many points as it did in the first half to take a 53-41 lead. The other difference between the halves was in rebounding. Bainbridge held the advantage in the first half outrebounding Alcovy 18-8. Things were evened out in the second half as the Tigers had one more rebound, 15-14, than Bainbridge.

"That's what we prepared for. They all rebounded well and that's what we focused on in practice," said Brown.

Leading the Tigers on the scoreboard was Michael Tucker who had a couple of uplifting dunks as he scored 20 points. Also getting double-digit scoring was Deondre Butler with 14 points.

Pacing the Bearcats were Paul Chutes (23), Trea Kelly (16) and Dontavius Marshall (10).