The Alexander girls basketball team traveled over to Cobb County Thursday evening to take on the Pope Lady Greyhounds. The Lady Cougars opened the game well against the higher classification team but Pope hit an assortment of 3-pointer to pull away early and hold a commanding lead throughout the game. AHS fell in their season opener, 64-45.
“We played a little sluggish in the first half. In the second half we switched defense to man and they only beat us by two,” said Lady Cougars coach Adam Watts. “I played a lot of kids, dressed four freshman and a sophomore, just trying to get a lot of minutes for everybody. Athletically we were as gifted as they were. We just had a lot of turnovers in the second half and they hit more shots than we did.”
Alexander jumped out to a 6-2 lead early in the first period behind a jumper from Claudia Hester, a free throw by Ijeoma Mwachuku and a 3-pointer by Rose Jones. Pope battled back, taking a one point lead off at 9-8 off a three from Esther Paulk.
After a little back and forth play, the Lady Greyhounds started to pull away when Bria Johnson and Kierra Henry hit back-to-back three’s for a 17-9 lead with two minutes left in the first. After a timeout, Pope ended the period with six more points, all coming from Henry. She hit a layup, knocked down two shots from the line, and added two more points as the buzzer went off. AHS trailed 22-9.
Alexander’s Hester opened the second period with a 3-pointer but Pope’s Johnson did the same on the other end of the floor. Over the next few minute, the Lady Greyhounds hit three 3-pointers from three separate players. Imari Montalvo kept the Lady Cougars in the game with eight points over that same span, hitting three layups and a short jumper. After a pair of free throws, Pope led 37-22 with three minutes to go in the half.
Alexander’s Autumn Norwood knocked down a long jumper but Pope ended the second period with four points off layups by Henry and Yaz Wazeeruddin. The Lady Greyhounds, behind seven first half shots behind the arc, led at the half, 41-24.
Alexander opened the third period with four straight points off two layups by Montalvo. Pope answered with a seven points led by five points from Henry off a 3-pointer and a layup. The Lady Cougars went on a 6-3 run which was kicked off by a 3-pointer from Jones. A free throw battle ensued for the rest of the third period, with Pope taking a 54–37 lead into the final eight minutes.
AHS again opened a period with the first score when Mwachuku hit a layup, However, Pope rattled off seven straight before the Lady Cougars scored three minutes later on a pair of free throws from Hester. Shortly after, Hester fouled out and AHS would be forced to play without their starting point guard for the last three minutes, trailing 61-41. With 1:31 to play, both benches was cleared as the game ticked down to conclusion.
Montalvo led AHS with 13 points, and could have put more on the board but struggled with foul trouble throughout the game. Hester followed with 11 points and Jones added eight. For Pope, Henry had a game high 23 points. Johnson followed with 15.