New Manchester and Alexander collided Tuesday night in a pair of Region 5-AAAAA games. The Jaguars and Lady Jags made the short trip over to AHS for the intra-county face-off. The Lady Cougars managed to pull away from New Manchester in the second half of the early game, winning the defensive battle 44-34. For the boys, Alexander’s Artavius Love hit three, fourth quarter 3-pointers to lead his team to a 66-59 win in the late game.
The Lady Cougars struck first but New Manchester quickly tied the game to open the first quarter. Alexander followed with four straight points off a pair of free throws by Imari Montalvo and a short jumper by Claudia Hester. AHS widened its lead to five midway through the quarter, and maintained it until the buzzer. At the end of the first, the Lady Cougars led, 10-5.
New Manchester cut the deficit to three, twice, in the first four minutes of the second quarter. Jalysia Glover hit a jumper and Nautical Peden rolled in a layup. Hester answered with a 3-pointer for AHS at the four minute mark, putting the Lady Cougars up, 15-9. Nearly two minutes later, New Manchester’s Dashauna Smith hit one from long range and the deficit was back at three. Both teams attempted more long range shots to end the quarter, but none would connect. AHS led the defensive game at the half, 15-12.
The Lady Jags tied the game in the opening seconds of the third quarter when Shemyah Wilson completed a 3-point play, which included a layup and a foul shot. New Manchester took the lead off a layup by Taiylar Hibbard.
Alexander answered back with six straight points, highlighted by a Hester 3-pointer, which gave the Lady Cougars the lead again. They would not trail again. After a 2-point shot by the Lady Jags, AHS went on another six point run with three different players scoring. Alexander led, 27-19. New Manchester finished the quarter strong, cutting the deficit to five.
Kiara Watson allowed the Lady Cougars to widen their lead by connecting on two free throws and a layup to start the fourth quarter. Brooke Nail put Alexander up by double digits with five minutes to play. Nail stole the ball and completed the play with a layup on the other end for a 37-27 advantage.
New Manchester rallied back but Hester took over the game for AHS, scoring three points to put the Lady Cougars up by nine with two minutes to go. Down, 41-33, the Lady Jags were forced to foul with 30 seconds to play. AHS went on to win by 10.
Alexander’s Hester led all scorers with 14 points. Wilson scored a team high 10 for New Manchester.
In the boys game, the first quarter was a battle with neither team wanting to give up the edge. Behind the pay of Aaron Reddick, the Jaguars managed to take a 14-12 lead. Reddick scored four times in the quarter for seven points. He we 3-for-4 from the free throw line, and hit two layups. Alexander’s Artavius Love came out strong by scoring four of his team’s first six points. The Cougars spread the ball around after that.
AHS hit a few early 3-pointers in the second quarter to take a 21-16 lead. However, the Jags answered with a six point run on three consecutive layups, to go up by one. Alexander’s Josh Heath went 1-for-2 from the line with three minutes remaining in the half and the game was tied at 22.
The Jaguars broke the tie with four straight shots from the line. Tyler Edwards knocked down a pair and Greg Ringer followed with two more. New Manchester wrapped up a six point run with an Edwards layup. Down by seven, Alexander’s Mikell Lands-Davis connected from long range. Reddick ended the quarter by going 1-for-2 from the line to give the Jags a 31-26 advantage.
After New Manchester opened the third quarter with a quick score, the Cougars made their comeback, outscoring the Jags, 1-2, tying the game at 35 on a Love layup and taking a two point lead on a Trae Jones roll in. Lands-Davis scored three points during the streak.
New Manchester answered with a 10 point streak, with most points coming on a breakaway. Jevon Traynham and Kyle Parker scored four points each. Ringer added two. Now trailing by eight, the Cougars did not get discouraged and begin to come back once again. As the final seconds ticked away in the third, Heath put the ball through the hope to give the Cougars a 46-45 lead.
Alexander’s Love opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers. After a Jaguar layup, he connected again from long range to give his team a 55-47 advantage with six minutes to play. Love followed with a pair of free throws to put AHS up by 10.
Down double digits, the Jaguars could never work their way back into the game as both teams exchanged baskets. The Cougars went to the free throw line several times as the quarter progressed, and would hold on for a seven point victory.
Love finished the game with 19 points. He was followed by teammates Lands-Davis, with 11, and Jones, with 10. For the Jaguars, Edwards led the team with 16 points. Reddick followed with 14 and Parker finished with 13.