COVINGTON -- The Alcovy boys battled down to the buzzer in a loss to Mt. Zion Friday night, 62-59, while the Lady Tigers dominated their counterparts from Clayton County, 62-33.
The Alcovy girls kept their Region 4-AAAA title hopes alive while the boys fell to 4-6 in regional play.
Mt. Zion 62, Alcovy 59
Devon Edwards wanted the ball with nine seconds to play and his Alcovy team trailing by two, 61-59. He courageously drove the lane and put the ball up for the tying score but the ball rolled off the front of the rim and the Tigers were doomed to a loss to Mt. Zion.
In a second half that featured numerous lead changes, it was two clutch fast break scores by Mt. Zion reserve Stefan Griffin that seemed to turn the game in favor of the Bulldogs. Griffin twice took the ball on the wing after a defensive rebound and sprinted to the bucket for scores with 57 seconds to play and then again with 38 seconds. The first score gave Mt. Zion a 56-55 lead the second stretched the margin to four, 59-55. In between the two Griffin scores was a solo free throw by the Bulldogs' inside man, Kevin Hodge.
Alcovy enjoyed a four-point lead at half, 26-22, but Mt. Zion came out firing in the second half and soon tied the game 30-30. The Tigers asserted themselves and managed to be up by four again, 43-39, at the end of the third period.
In a wild and exciting final period, Alcovy could not seem to put the game away after increasing its lead to six, 45-39 on a quick bucket by Josh Peters. That lead was erased by a six-point run by Mt. Zion. The lead went back and forth but in the end, stronger inside play by Mt. Zion and some clutch outside shooting by guards Jarrell King and Stephen Wilson made the difference.
Peters came up strong for Alcovy in the second half with 13 of his 15 point total for the game. Edwards also scored 15 and the reserve freshman played well in both halves and finished with 14 points.
The Tigers play Eastside tonight and then resume regional play on Tuesday with a trip to Jonesboro.
Alcovy 62, Mt. Zion 33
Ball handling is a strength for the Alcovy girls team this season. The often underrated skill was on display in a 62-33 rout of Mt. Zion on Friday night when the Lady Tigers exploded for 26 points in the third quarter.
Led by freshman Meagan Tucker with 16 points, 13 in the second half, Alcovy used the speed of its guard to build big leads. The Lady Tigers went ahead by 20 with a little more than five minutes left in the third quarter and reached a 30-point spread just into the final period.
"We started out slow," Lady Tigers coach Kidada Holtzclaw said. "But I was pleased with how the girls came out in the second half and played hard."
Alcovy started the game with a quick bucket by freshman Ashley Williams. That seemed to set the tempo and the win improved the Lady Tigers' Region 4-AAAA record to 9-1 and 13-5 for the season.
"Our guards do handle the ball well," Holtzclaw said. "And we are working on getting them to shoot the ball better and it seemed better in the second half."
In addition to Tucker's strong performance, sophomore Kate Palo also impressed with 13 points, all in the second half. And in control all night, directing the Lady Tigers, was junior guard Lisa Kassally.