Alcovy’s Tierra Hodges battles to the basket through Rockdale’s Jonai Jackson (32) and Tamera Sanders in the Region 2-AAAAAA consolation finals game on Tuesday. (Staff photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith)
COVINGTON — The Alcovy girls held off the Lady Bulldogs to win the consolation final 42-36 while the Rockdale boys could never get it together losing to Lovejoy 70-36 in the Region 2-AAAAAA tournament on Tuesday.
Due to early deadlines, coverage of the Newton-Luella boys and girls basketball championship finals Tuesday night is not included in today’s edition. Readers can find game coverage on our website at www.newtoncitizen.com. Coverage of the game will be published in print in our Thursday edition.
In the girls semifinal game, both teams felt what it was like to lead after a quarter of play as the Lady Tigers led by one point, 9-8, to end the first quarter only to give up their lead. The Lady Bulldogs manged to outscore Alcovy in the second frame by two points taking a 16-15 halftime lead.
The third quarter was a battle in itself as the lead changed hands four times and the score was tied another three times.
“That worried us,” Alcovy girls head coach David Baker said. “One of Rockdale’s strength is the half-court game. We had to make sure we got that ball out there and pushed it.”
The Lady Bulldogs kept the game close until the midway point of the fourth period when Alcovy extended their lead to six points, 36-30. Even though the Lady Bulldogs cut into the lead to make it a one possession game, they were unable to take away their lead.
With the Lady Bulldogs within striking distance, they were forced to foul the Lady Tigers sending them to the line three times in the final minute of the game.
“One of our rituals in practice for the first 15 minutes is free-throws. We get to the line so much it’s like second nature,” Baker said.
Rockdale’s Brianna Patton and Alcovy’s Ayanna Wimbush each had 15 points to lead their team’s in scoring.
“She’s a really tough player. What she does, does not surprise me,” Baker said of Wimbush. “She’s good on both ends of the floor. I try to make sure she keeps her head in the game.”
The Rockdale boys had enough opportunities to either take a lead or keep the Wildcats from getting comfortable in the first quarter of play. But with each missed basket the team from Lovejoy gained a little more confidence.
“We came out very, very flat. We never really got started or get any offense,” Rockdale assistant coach Tyrone King said. “I’m not sure if (Monday) night took a toll on us but we told the players to put this game behind us.”
The Wildcats took a 10-0 lead before Darryl Tucker made Rockdale’s first basket of the game with 1:16 left in the period. Tucker , who led the Bulldogs in scoring with 13 points, accounted for all of the Bulldogs first-period points with a pair of free-throws as Lovejoy extended their lead to 19-4.
“Darryl is our workhorse. I know it was kind of frustrating for him (Tuesday) night with us coming out that flat,” King said. “He’s been big for us this year, especially on the defensive end and rebounding. We expect that out of him.”
The Bulldogs showed some improvement and life during the next two quarters of play but it was not enough to concern Lovejoy.
“We did see some good things in this tournament,” King said. “I know Jalen Jordan didn’t do as much as he’s been doing but we can’t let be a one-man show. We have other players on the team capable of doing some of the same things. It’s a new season that starts Saturday.”
Trailing 57-26 to start the fourth period, the Bulldogs continued to battle even though it was not enough.