Alma squads reach the finals of Citizens Bank Airedale Classic.
Third quarters haven’t been very kind to the Alma Airedalettes the last year and a half.
Thursday night, the third quarter was the key to their 55-44 win over Greenland in the semifinals of the Citizens Bank Airedale Classic at Charles B. Dyer Arena.
Alma (5-6) will play Scranton, which beat Lincoln in the other semifinal, for the tournament championship today at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Greenland led 13-10 after a quarter, 21-19 at the half and 26-23 with 4:26 left in the third quarter when Sierra Bailey tied the game with a conventional three-point play. Abby Ostrander drilled a 3-pointer with 1:40 left in the quarter, and the Airedalettes led from there on out.
“We came out the third quarter and executed,” Alma head coach Codey Mann said. “We got an easy bucket early, and shot the ball extremely well. That gave us a lot of confidence.”
Madi Tobler and Tatum Willhite added 3-pointers for Alma to finish the third quarter, and Ostrander hit a free throw as the Airedalettes outscored Greenland by a 17-7 count in the frame.
Alma took its biggest lead at 43-33 with 5:45 left in the game when Ostrander grabbed a loose ball on Greenland’s end, came down and calmly stroked a 3-pointer.
“The first half and the first part of the third quarter, I thought we were getting beat to those loose balls,” Mann said. “Then we started winning those loose balls. Typically, with a team like us we have to have every 50-50 ball to win games.”
Two free throws and a 3-pointer by Fiona Wilson, who led Greenland with 17 points, narrowed Alma’s lead to 43-38. Alma reeled off 10 points in a row to put the game away, taking advantage of six turnovers by Greenland in the fourth quarter.
“Defensively, we got stops, and we got rebounds when we got stops,” Mann said. “That was real important.”
Kailey Fagan scored 18 points to lead the Airedalettes. Bailey added 14, and Ostrander 11.
ALMA 48, LAVACA 42
MEN’S — The Airedales limited Lavaca to just three points in the second quarter and took command on the way to a 48-42 win in the semifinals.
Alma will play Bentonville West for the tournament championship today at 8 p.m.
Thursday, Lavaca hit four 3-pointers, paced by two from Ryan Dockery, in the first quarter end led 17-15 early in the second quarter before the Airedales found their range.
Christian Stahler, Garrison Jensen, and Nathan Corder hit 3-pointers during a four-minute stretch to help the Airedales take a 28-18 lead at the half.
Alma’s defense also was pivotal in the second quarter, holding Lavaca to a lone basket from the field in 11 tries.
Kade Wood led Alma with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Corder added 13 points, including eight in the third quarter.
Dockery led Lavaca with 21 points. Garrett Eck added 11.
ALMA 52, ELKINS 43
WOMEN’S — The Airedalettes used a solid second-quarter to take control and beat Elkins, 52-43, in the first round.
Trailing 13-12 after a quarter, Sierra Bailey scored inside and Kailey Fagan nailed a 3-pointer to put Alma up for good.
After a mid-range jumper by Elkins’ Kenadie Kestner, Jordyn Collyar hit a 3-pointer, Bailey scored inside and Alyssa Hoyle hit two free throws to push Alma’s lead to 24-15 with 5:05 left in the half.
“I thought we did a good job of getting stops, and we pushed it in transition,” Alma head coach Codey Mann said. “The second quarter was the turning point.”
Hoyle ended the first half with consecutive baskets, the first off a putback and then a fast-break layup for a 30-22 lead at halftime.
“We played a lot of zone earlier in the year,” Mann said. “We went back to playing man, and I think it’s made us a little bit tougher and little bit feistier. Of course, when you shoot it well it helps, and we shot it well that second quarter.”
Alma was 7-for-13 shooting in the second quarter, and started the second half that way, too.
Ostrander hit consecutive treys to open the third quarter, opening up 36-22 lead. Elkins made an 8-0 run, but Ostrander’s driving bucket inside gave Alma a 42-34 lead to end the third quarter.
Tatum Willhite and Ostrander opened the fourth quarter with consecutive treys and Alma held off Elkins despite eight turnovers in the last quarter.
Bailey scored 20 points to lead Alma (4-6), and Ostrander added 11. Hoyle had eight points and 11 rebounds.
Kestner scored 16 points to lead Elkins (4-5).