The Alexander basketball teams made the trip over to South Paulding Tuesday evening for a pair of games with the Spartans. The Lady Cougars and Lady Spartans battled for four periods, with AHS coming out on top, 58-53. In the second game, Alexander relied on their defense to pick up a 53-47 victory.
In the girls game, AHS jumped out to a 12-8 first period lead and led 23-21 at the half. They were up 38-34 heading into the final period.
“They took the lead on us late in the fourth and we had to press,” said AHS girls coach Adam Watts. “We had three girls foul out and they were three key defensive players. Brooke Nail stepped up and played defense on their point guard and got a couple of turnovers to give us the lead back.”
Nail finished the game with 10 points.
“She is an all around athletic kid and she gives us a chance to be successful,” Watts said. “She forced three turnovers down the stretch and we were able to score each time.”
Shaughnessy Peacock sealed the game for the Lady Cougars. She connected on 3-of-4 shots from the free throw line to put the game away.
“This was a big win for us,” Watts said. “I felt going into the season that Hiram and South Paulding were the teams to beat and to beat South Paulding on their floor is a big plus for us. The game stayed within four points throughout, and we did not shoot the ball overly well, but we did enough to get by. it was a consistent game and I was very pleased.”
Claudia Hester led AHS with 15 points.
“She had a pretty bad shooting night, but hit six free throws,” Watts said. “She played well defensively and if they fouled her she would score.”
Atara McGhaw, who is only a freshman, continued her stellar play with 10 points.
“She plays man-to-man really well and held their point guard to zero points. She rebounded well and hit a key jump shot from the corner,” Watts said. “She is growing more mature as an athlete and a player. She is learning from the leadership that Claudia and Brooke are showing.”
In the boys game, AHS led 12-11 after the first period and 25-22 at the half. They were up 37-30 at the end of the third period. Defense carried the Cougars to victory.
“I thought we were bad offensively and did not do a whole lot, but on the flip side we challenged them to play well defensively and for the most part we played better on the glass.” said AHS boy coach Jason Slate. “Down the road we know we are going to score, the biggest question was defense, and we stepped up tonight against a tough team to pick up a region road win.”
Josh Heath and Isaac Zico led the defense.
“Josh did a good job being disruptive and guarding their point,” Slate said. Isaac did a good job back in the press and guarding the glass.”
Brant Howard led the offense with 14 points. Artavius Love followed with 10 points.
Both teams will be back in action on Friday when Alexander travels to East Paulding. AHS will host Douglas County on Saturday.