The Alma Airedales were facing a six-point fourth-quarter deficit on Tuesday, but more importantly, were looking at an 0-2 start in the 5A-West with a pair of home losses.
The resilient Airedales answered with a late rally and then held on for a 76-73 overtime win against Huntsville to square their conference record.
"Those two things went through my mind," Alma head coach Stan Flenor said. "Sometimes you just have to find a way. We’ve been in some tight games this year. We found a way being down six."
Alma (9-4, 1-1 5A-West) trailed 61-55 with 4:26 left in the fourth quarter before Austin Lee and Jake Folkerts combined to score 10 points for a 67-67 tie with 25 seconds left. Lee converted a three-point play and drove the baseline for a tough jumper and Folkerts drilled a 15-footer and added three free throws. Braxton Anderson also drove for a bucket in the pinch to aid Alma’s fourth-quarter comeback.
Alma forced a turnover with three seconds left to force overtime where the Airedales opened with a 3-pointer by Lee and another 15-footer by Folkerts for five quick points.
"Both teams battled hard and made a lot of good plays," Huntsville head coach Jim Stafford said. "Unfortunately, we came up one play short. We had our chances and had a chance to win in the regular game and had a turnover there at the last and slipped on the baseline."
The Airedales didn’t score for almost three minutes, though, and River Gosvener answered for Huntsville (11-5, 1-1) with a 3-pointer with 2:59 left. Christian Cain drilled the Eagles’ 11th and final 3-pointer of the game for a 73-72 lead with 30 seconds left.
"Huntsville shot the ball extremely well," Flenor said. "They played great offensively. Kudos to them for what they did both offensively and defensively."
Lee, who led Alma with a career-high 31 points, swished a pair of free throws on Alma’s next possession with 24 seconds left. After Huntsville was called for a charge, Lee put the final nail in the coffin with two more freebies with seven seconds left.
"We had not played very well in the third quarter, and we talked starting the fourth quarter with a clean slate," Flenor said. "No missed free throws, execution down the stretch, get stops, and we did that at certain times. They fought back and hit some big threes, but the Airedales did, too. We found a way to get it done."
Both teams put four players in double-figures scoring.
Lee’s 31 points led Alma with Folkerts adding 14, including 12 after halftime, and Braxton Anderson with 14. Mason Wight chipped in 10 points, including a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter that pulled Alma with 54-53.
Gosvener led Huntsville with 19 points on six 3-pointers and a free throw. Colby Faulkner added 12 points with Will Anderson and Pedro Sandoval each scoring 11 points.
Huntsville 58, Alma 22 (Women’s)
The Lady Eagles hit exactly 50 percent from the field on Tuesday and stifled Alma defensively, yielding only four field goals.
"We played extremely well defensively," Huntsville head coach Charles Berry said. "The big thing was we didn’t give them any threes, and they usually shoot the three extremely well."
Chanlee Terhune hit a free throw and Robin Stewart drove for a bucket with 3:11 left in the first half to pull Alma within 26-16 before Huntsville took over.
The Lady Eagles scored the final 10 points of the first half with Makayla Butler hitting a pair of buckets, Brittanie Gragg hitting four free throws and Miranda Campbell ending the half with a driving bucket and a 36-16 lead.
Huntsville, which was 20 of 40 from the floor on the night, then outscored Alma, 15-1, in the third quarter, including a 13-0 run to open the quarter.
Vanessa Burgess led Huntsville (10-3, 2-0) with 14 points. She scored Huntsville’s first eight points of the game before picking up her second foul in a game that featured 37 fouls and combined 45 free throws. Kamri Thomas added 13 points.
Hailey Ostrander led Alma (8-5, 1-1) with six points.