Alma capped a sweep of 5A-West leaders on Tuesday, finishing off Harrison with a stout fourth quarter for a 56-52 win.
The Airedales (10-5, 2-2 5A-West) started the fourth quarter with a 10-0 flurry, which was the only prolonged scoring run by either team, to open a close game and knock off one of three undefeated boys teams in the conference.
“Our guys played really, really well, offensively and defensively,” Alma head coach Stan Flenor said. “We rebounded the basketball in some real tough situations and got key stops throughout the second half.”
Mason Wight drilled a 3-pointer to open the last quarter and erase Harrison’s 37-36 lead. Jake Folkerts grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and dished to Austin Lee, who nailed another 3 for a 42-37 lead on the Airedales’ next possession with 5:44 left.
“That was a big offensive rebound that Jake got and kicked out to Austin for the 3,” Flenor said. “That gave us a five-point lead at the time. We just proceeded to get it done.”
After another miss by Harrison, Lee drove for a bucket, then grabbed a defensive rebound and fed Wight, who finished a fast-break layup for a 46-37 lead with 4:33 left.
“That was the defining moment for us, to get ahead,” Flenor said. “We’ve been in those situations. We’ve got to handle pressure and make free throws down the stretch. We made some, but we have to make more. We just need to be in those situations and gain confidence in what we’re doing.”
Harrison’s 6-foot-5 post Carson Jenkins halted Alma’s run with a turn-around jumper, but Wight and Braylon Parker each drained a pair of free throws that pushed Alma’s lead to 50-39 with 3:18 left.
“It was a total team game,” Flenor said. “They worked hard. They held serve on home court.”
Lee led Alma with 18 points. Folkerts powered his way to 15 points and yanked down 14 boards, including five on the offensive end. Wight added 12 points.
Jordan Grant scored 26 points to pace Harrison (12-4, 3-1). Jenkins pumped in 14 points. Silas Huskey added seven points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Alma 59, Harrison 33 (Women’s)
The Airedalettes started the sweep by knocking off the only undefeated girls team in the 5A-West.
The Airedalettes ran past the league-leaders from the start.
Alma (9-6, 2-2) spotted Emily Poyner a bucket off an offensive rebound and then scored 11 points in just two minutes, forcing six turnovers in the first quarter and 13 for the first half.
“When can reel off 11 in a row, it always gets you going,” Alma head coach Madelyn Flenor said. “Our defense was a big deal. We’ve been giving up 50 points and not causing any turnovers. That’s not us. We need to get our offense generating when we get some turnovers.”
Robin Stewart drove for a bucket and Hailey Ostrander swished a 3-pointer. That was followed by consecutive rebounds and coast-to-coast layups by Stewart and Lania Wright. Cierra Rainwater capped the 11-0 run with a steal and layup with 4:58 left in the first quarter.
“We talked this week about the tempo that we need to play at for us to be good,” Flenor said. “That’s one thing we’ve noticed that when we can get that tempo where it’s just hectic, we look pretty good. When it slows down, we’re not as good. Our kids did a great job of keeping the tempo where we needed it early.”
Rainwater, Ostrander and Stewart added 3-pointers as the Airedalettes rolled to a 22-8 lead after the first quarter.
The Airedalettes stayed on the pedal in the second quarter with an 8-0 run for a 30-8 cushion with 4:35 left in the half.
“It was kind of finished,” Flenor said. “We know we have to play at that tempo to be good. I was real pleased with the kids’ energy the first two quarters.”
Stewart added another 3-pointer in a 17-point half to propel the Airedalettes to a 37-11 halftime advantage.
Harrison (11-6, 3-1) managed just three buckets in the first half in 24 attempts, including a 2-for-21 start. The Airedalettes capitalized with 9-of-12 shooting in the first quarter and 17-of-32 for the game.
Stewart finished with 19 points with Ostrander adding 15, Wright 12 and Rainwater 10.
Harrison was led by Poyner, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out.