The Airedalettes let the momentum slip away at the end of the first half Friday. Instead of a big lead, Alma led only by a bucket.
They seized the momentum back in the second and scored 40 second-half points with a pair of 20-point quarters in a 63-53 win against Greenbrier.
“It was a big win for us,” Airedalettes head coach Madelyn Flenor said. “We’re excited.”
Alma (11-7, 4-3 5A-West) led 23-15 after a 7-0 run when Robin Stewart fed Madison Newton for a bucket on an inbounds play, Hailey Ostrander then drove for a basket and swished a 3-pointer. Greenbrier answered with a 6-0 run that cut Alma’s lead to 23-21 at the half.
“With about 40 seconds left in the first and they go on a 6-0 run,” Flenor said. “We haven’t given up one like that in a long time before half. We’d get up and then fight right back. I was real pleased with our kids. A lot of nights when we win, it’s because we’re shooting it really well.
“We didn’t knock down 13 3s tonight. We had to scrap and bang to get it.”
Stewart opened the third quarter with two free throws and Newton put back a miss for a bucket. But Alma needed a 6-0 run to close the quarter to start taking control. Lania Wright drove for a layup, Syndey Dunbar canned a 3 and Newton hit a lone free throw for a 43-34 lead after three quarters.
Greenbrier, which was battling Alma for fourth place in the conference standings, was still within five at 51-46 with 3:11 left before Alma started converting free throws to pull away.
Alma scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, but 14 of those were from the free-throw line.
Ostrander led Alma with 16 points while Newton chipped in 13.
Kory Westerman had 25 points for Greenbrier (10-10, 3-4). She hit her first 11 free throws and finished 13-of-14.
Greenbrier 67, Alma 58
BOYS — Although the Panthers’ runs of 7-0 and 5-0 in the third quarter weren’t that big, they were the difference.
Greenbrier’s win jumbled up the middle of the 5A-West standings.
“If we don’t win this game, we’re probably out of it,” Greenbrier head coach Mike Simmons. “The kids played great.”
Alma (12-6, 4-3) and Greenbrier (11-9, 3-4) were tied 26-26 at halftime.
Leading 31-29, Greenbrier’s Sam Colbert scored off an offensive rebound and added a free throw to complete the three-point play. Tyler Simmons drove for a bucket and Malik Wright turned a steal into a breakaway layup for a 38-29 cushion with 2:30 left in the third quarter.
“We hit some shots to get us going in the third quarter,” Simmons said. “We haven’t had that this season. We didn’t have that lull like we’ve had some times this season.”
Jake Folkerts hit two free throws for Alma, but Gerrell Williams drove for a bucket and Simmons added another driving basket to push Greenbrier up, 43-31, with 1:20 left in the quarter.
“I was disappointed in our effort,” Alma head coach Stan Flenor said. “We had an opportunity to go 5-2. We can beat anybody in this league and anybody can beat us on any given night.
“You have to play your best every single night.”
Alma fought within six at 59-53 on a 3-pointer by Alex Benuex with 59 seconds left and to within five at 61-56 with 43 seconds left on Braxton Anderson’s 3-pointer, but Greenbrier closed it out with five consecutive free throws.
“Greenbrier went down inside on us and hurt us,” Flenor said. “We’ve got to play more solid offensively and defensively.”
Simmons scored 28 points to lead Greenbrier.
Folkerts led Alma with 15 points, and Anderson and Austin Lee both added 14.