Alexander wrapped up the Roundball Classic in Charleston, South Carolina on on Tuesday with a win over Savannah High School. The cougars defeated the Georgia school, 62-55 after trailing 28-19 at the half.
“I thought we came out and played pretty good. We were attacking their pressure but then they switched to man and we were not patient offensively. We were selfish with the ball, though not intentionally We were not tough enough,” said AHS coach Jason Slate. “In the second half we kept playing hard defensively, and offensively we did a better job of sharing the ball. We hit the big shots and were creeping back.”
Alexander took the lead with seven minutes left in the game. The Cougars then maintained a four to five point lead for the last four minutes.
Artavius Love and Mikell Lands-Davis led Alexander with 20 points apiece.
“Both players did a better job hitting shots within the offense in the second half,” Slate said.”They were getting most of their scores on the inside with offensive rebounds and put-backs.”
Josh Heath led the defense by shutting down Savannah’s point guard.
“He had a phenomenal defensive game,” Slate said. “He was key to shutting down their offense. He was keeping their point guard out of the lane and being disruptive.”
AHS opened the tourney with an 85-60 loss to Seton Hall, which is annually ranked in the top 25 in the nation.
The Cougars were shocked to find out they would be playing 16 minute halves instead of eight minutes quarters after arriving to the tourney on Saturday. AHS came out strong against Seton Hall, taking a five point lead after the first 12 minutes. However, Seton Hall moved to a 3-2 zone defense and has hurt the Cougars all year. The new defense created a 21 point swing, with AHS falling behind, 51-35 at the half.
“That 2-3 zone is what we are going to see until we get good at attacking,” Slate said. “We were not hitting good shots, taking quick shots, and basically we helped them offensively. They got a lot more comfortable.”
Slate added that in the second half, his team did a better job against the zone, attacking a little bit better, but could not do enough to get out of the hole.
“It wasn’t fatigue, it was just different,” said Slate on the 16 minute half. “We have an opportunity to sit down after eight minutes and figure things out but I would have had to blown my third timeout.”
Lands-Davis led the AHS offense with 13 points. Trae Jones followed with 11 and Isaac Zico added 10.
“As a group, over the first 12 minutes we played tremendously,” Slate said. “Right now we are just not tough enough to do the things we need to do at a high level.”
On day two of the tourney on Monday, Alexander defeated Hanahan High School (South Carolina), 72-51.
AHS jumped out to a 39-30 lead at halftime while still playing college style basketball. The Cougars came out slow after the break but the bench helped the team get back into the game and Alexander finished strong.
“We got into foul trouble early but did a good job of taking a nine point lead at the half,” Slate said. “We came out a little flat in the second half but I brought the bench in quick and they did a great good job of getting the pace back up and then we did a good job after that defending and sharing the basketball.”
The Cougars had a well balanced offensive night. Jones led the team with 12 points. Grant Howard followed with 11.
“Trae was pretty even with his scoring and hit some perimeter shots, had some good drives, and hit his free throws,” Slate said. “Grant played solid, doing most of his scoring in the first half. He did a good job of distributing the ball.”
Love and Antonio Hall scored nine points each. Hall was one of the biggest contributors off the bench in the second half.
Jordan Brown stepped in and played good defense while also adding six points. Josh Heath played well defensively as well, putting pressure on the ball and forcing turnovers.
Overall, Slate was happy with the way the team played in the three game tourney.
“It was great competition, I just wish we could have one that first game, but Seton Hall is a great team and won the tourney championship,” Slate said. “For us to go away for five days face adversary, winning two out of three is not bad.”