SPRINGDALE — Madelyn Flenor has coached in the 5A-West Conference long enough to know games on the road can turn quickly.
Clinging to a one-point lead in the waning seconds of the first half, Alma needed fewer than five seconds to turn the momentum its way in a 56-40 win against Shiloh Christian in Champions Gymnasium.
The Airedalettes (10-7, 3-3) worked inside for a K’la Criswell layup, then Cassie Cochran stole Shiloh Christian’s inbounds pass and hit another layup at the halftime buzzer, giving Alma a 21-16 lead.
"It was huge momentum for us," Flenor said. "We’d played pretty good through most of the first half, and then it just seemed like all of the sudden our five- or six-point lead had dwindled to one point. So that was a real big momentum swing."
It was a pair of reserves that made the key shots as both Criswell and Cochran came off the bench in the second quarter and made big contributions, Flenor said.
Shiloh Christian coach Mat Stewart said the late buckets were the turning point in the game.
"For the coach, it was really big," Stewart said. "I was proud of the girls for playing about as bad of basketball as we have all year and still staying in the game and fighting back. That’s just demoralizing when you come out and hope that maybe you can get a turnover there and a last-second shot ourselves and maybe take the lead, then all the sudden we’re down by five. That hurt."
Alma used the momentum to dominate the second half, outscoring Shiloh Christian (3-9, 2-4) 10-3 in the first 3 minutes, 58 seconds of the third quarter to take a 31-19 lead on Robin Stewart’s 3-pointer. The Lady Saints never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Stewart hit three 3-pointers — all in the second half — to lead Alma with 13 points and Lania Wright added 11. Seven players scored for the Airedalettes.
Lauren Roth drained three 3-pointers for the Lady Saints and led all scorers with 18 points. Cayden Sears added 12 points for Shiloh Christian.
Alma 70, Shiloh Christian 68 (Men’s)
The Airedales withstood a furious Shiloh Christian rally to escape after almost squandering a big third quarter lead.
Alma (12-5, 4-2) got a game-high 27 points from Austin Lee. Mason Wight added 17 and Jake Folkerts 12.
Daniel Matthews and Andrew Daniels each scored 19 for the Saints (6-10, 0-6) and Trenton Crawford added 15. The Saints scored 42 points in the second half to slash a double-figure lead to a single possession late in the game before the Airedales sealed the game at the free-throw line.