Both games between Alcoa and Fulton Friday night shared a common denominator. They came down to toughness.
In the girls matchup, Alcoa was defeated 56-51 after a strong strong start.
The Lady Tornadoes led 12-4 in the first quarter before the Lady Falcons finished the quarter on a 7-0 run.
With most of the bench in, the Lady Tornadoes struggled to get much offense. The bench provided two points in the game.
“I would’ve liked to got a little more help from out bench tonight than what we did,” Alcoa coach David Baumann said. “It kind of turned the game around a little bit in the first half when it was 20-12. From that point on, it was a dogfight.”
Both teams traded blows in the second half. When the Lady Falcons scored, the Lady Tornadoes answered right. Neither team built a lead larger than seven points in the second half.
The Lady Tornadoes rallied to tie the game at 48 late in the fourth quarter as the band and crowd made their loudest cheers.
Turnovers haunted the Lady Tornadoes in the final two minutes as the Lady Falcons started to pull away.
“Toughness,” Baumann said. “If there was a hustle play to make, they made it.”
Three Lady Tornadoes finished the game in double figures. They were led by Destiny Haworth, who scored 14 points.
Fulton boys 60, Alcoa 52: The Alcoa boys got off to the opposite start as the girls.
The Tornadoes were down 6-0 before they could blink, and trailed 17-8 after the first quarter. That deficit grew to 12 at the half as the Tornadoes missed many shots they’re used to making.
“In the first half, we beat ourselves,” head coach Joel Kirk said. “We missed easy layups and we didn’t attack the bucket.”
Defensively, the Tornadoes looked dominant in the third quarter. They shut down the Falcons offense, holding them to seven points. This allowed them to get within four points going into the fourth.
“I talk about the third quarter a lot,” Kirk said. “I think the first three minutes pretty much decide the game.”
One of the most telling stats was free-throw attempts. The Falcons offense appeared aggressive from the start and finished with 24 free-throw attempts. The Tornadoes managed seven.
Every time it looked like the Tornadoes were making their stretch run, they made a mistake offensively. This led to the Falcons taking advantage of the mistakes, and stretching the lead.
“I’m proud of their fight and hustle, but we have to be smarter,” Kirk said. “Both times we cut it to four, we turned the ball over on an out-of-bounds play. I just think tonight we beat ourselves.”
Garrett Rogers led Alcoa with 16 points. Nate Marsh added 11 points and Tyren McNear 10 points.
F .. 11 .. 15 .. 10 .. 20 .. - 56
A .. 12 .. 10 .. 12 .. 17 .. - 51
ALCOA: Destiny Haworth 14, Brenna Ridge 12, Jataya Wilson 11, McKenzie Wilburn 9, Alexis Marshall 3, Laken Jared 2
3-pointers: Alcoa 0, Fulton 1
Records: Alcoa 8-10 (1-2 District 4-AA), Fulton 8-11 (3-2)
F .. 17 .. 17 .. 7 .. 19 .. - 60
A .. 8 .. 14 .. 15 .. 15 .. - 52
ALCOA: Garrett Rogers 16, Nate Marsh 11, Tyren McNear 10, Jaylen Carter 8, Mikael Ayl 5, Isiah Cox 2
3-pointers: Alcoa 5 (Rogers 3, Marsh 1, McNear 1), Fulton 6.
Records: Alcoa 11-8 (2-1 District 4-AA), Fulton 12-4 (4-1)
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