The Alma Airedales put on a dribble-drive exhibition in the third quarter and will take a big confidence boost into a key three-game stretch.
Alma erupted from a single-point lead with 30 points in the final 12 minutes and took a 61-40 win over Siloam Springs on Friday night.
Alma (9-6, 2-1) now enters a three-game stretch against the other three Class 5A teams inside the 6A/5A-1 against Farmington, Harrison and Clarksville.
Friday night, Alma led just 31-30 with 4:03 left in the third quarter when Kade Wood grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Christian Stahler for a bucket. After a miss by Siloam Springs, Wood drove and dished to Stahler for a wide-open 3-pointer from the corner for a 38-32 lead.
Marquan Sorrells drove for a bucket for Siloam Springs, but Alma finished the quarter with eight points in the final 72 seconds.
“It was picturesque,” Alma head coach Stan Flenor said. “That’s what we needed. We needed a game where we see it all happen and gain some confidence. It was exciting for our guys to see. It was good to see them smiling again.”
Johnson dished to Stahler for anther trey, Wood blocked a shot which led to Stahler’s pass to Johnson, who scored down low. With time running out in the quarter, Alma forced a loose ball, which Garrison Jensen recovered near midcourt. He drove for a layup, was fouled and sank the free throw with a second left for a 46-34 cushion.
“They were very unselfish, very much so,” Flenor said. “That’s one thing we’ve been proud of this team all year; they’re very selfless. They want their teammates to do well.”
Flenor rested his starters to start the fourth quarter, and the youngsters responded by pushing Alma’s lead to 52-37 with 5:03 left in the game behind a pair of 3-pointers by sophomore D.J. George.
“They gave us some energy,” Flenor said. “They hit a couple of big threes, and catapulted for us. It was good for them to do that. That really helps our team.”
Alma’s starters re-entered, and immediately Johnson fed Wood underneath for a slam. Stahler turned another assist from Johnson into a swishing 3-pointer and a 57-37 lead with 2:56 left.
“The second half, we attacked their zone,” Flenor said. “We kept employing out guys to play with energy. We went down inside and got some timely threes and big buckets. We sure finished like we wanted.”
Jensen led a quartet of scorers in double-digits for Alma with 14 points, including a trio of threes. Stahler added 13 points also with three 3-pointers. Wood had 12 points, 10 rebounds, a block and the slam. Tanner Shelton scored 10 points.
Sorrells led Siloam Springs (4-14, 2-2) with 12 points.
Siloam Springs 45, Alma 24
The Lady Panthers used a 16-point run in the first half to take early command and went on to the 45-24 win.
Siloam Springs (6-12, 2-2) broke away from a 7-5 deficit with 3:12 left in the first quarter to take a 23-7 with 1:44 left in the half with its 16-0 run.
Siloam Springs led 25-12 at the half and increased its lead to 35-18 late in the third quarter before Alma’s Reagan Gray drilled a 3-pointer to trim Siloam Springs’ lead back to 35-21 at the end of the quarter.
Cassidy Cooper opened the fourth quarter with another trey for the Airedalettes (6-11, 0-3), but that was Alma’s last points.
Hadlee Hollenback led Siloam Springs with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Chloe Price added 10 points.
Sierra Bailey scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds for Alma.