This story originally ran in the Press Argus-Courier on Jan. 5, 2019.
A key scoring run in the second quarter carried the Alma Lady Airedales to the win on Friday night.
Alma scored 10 straight points in a four-minute span to build a lead it never gave up in a 48-37 win over Lavaca in the semifinals of the Citizens Bank Airedale Classic at Charles B. Dyer Arena.
Alma (6-3) will play Pea Ridge in the tournament championship at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Lavaca (9-5) was within, 13-9, on Hope Headley’s 3-pointer before the key four-minute stretch for the Lady Airedales.
Loryn Kelley scored inside and then fed Ariel Towns-Robinson for another bucket inside. Towns-Robinson drilled a 3-pointer, Cassidy Cooper hit a free throw, and Jasmine Higgins made a steal and went coast-to-coast for a layup to push Alma up, 23-9, with 2:51 left in the half.
“We played good in spurts,” Alma head coach Codey Mann said. “You could tell it was the second game after a big layoff. We missed a lot of layups early in the game. I thought we played really have really stretched that lead out in the first half.”
Alma forced 11 first-half turnovers, helping the Lady Airedales to build a 30-17 lead at the half.
The Lady Airedales pushed their lead to 19 twice in the second half, at 38-19 capped by Cooper’s 3-pointer, and 40-21 on a fast-break layup by Kelley.
Lavaca scored the final six points of the third quarter, including the last five by Beth Ann May, and opened the fourth quarter with a bucket inside and a 3-pointer by Headley with 6:43 left that cut Alma’s lead to 40-32.
Alma put the game away with an 8-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Hillarie Mata.
Kelley had 18 points, including 12 in the second quarter when Alma scored 20 points, and eight rebounds for Alma. Towns-Robinson had 11 points.
Headley and May each had 14 points for Lavaca.
Alma 64, Lavaca 55
The Airedales finally pulled away from Lavaca in the fourth quarter to advance to the championship game.
Alma (8-1) will play Pea Ridge, which handed Elkins its first loss of the season in the other semifinal, for the tournament championship at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
Alma led 15-12 after a quarter, 31-27 at the half and 45-41 after three quarters.
Tanner Shelton opened the last quartFilterer for Alma with two free throws and a 3-pointer.
Following a 3-pointer by Lavaca’s Mark Miller, Cejay Man converted a fast-break layup and D.J. George fed Taelon Peter for a bucket on an inbounds pass to push Alma’s lead to 54-44 with 5:26 left. Only Alma’s 27-16 lead in the first quarter after a 9-0 run was a bigger lead in the game.
Jordan Fenner scored 17 points to lead Lavaca (10-4). Jayger Wagner added 12.
Mann scored 25 points for pace the Airedales. Shelton added 18, including Alma’s first six points in the third quarter.