Published Fri, Jan 20, 2012 12:28 am Dateline
Alexander notched their first win of the season with a 40-39 victory on the road against Wellston. In thrilling fashion, the lady Spartans avenged their nine-point loss to Wellston back in December.
Sophomore Marilyn Rankin drove to the basket and drew a foul with just six seconds left in the game and the score tied at 39. Rankin, who finished with 13 points, sunk the first free throw to give her team the advantage. Her second attempt bounced off the rim, and Wellston’s Jordan Davis grabbed the rebound and raced downcourt. Her floater from the free throw line hit front rim as time expired.
The score was tied 31-31 at the start of the fourth quarter and the two teams traded buckets and free throws in the final period. Each time Alexander led they attempted to run the clock down, but their inexperience in trying to seal a victory showed as they committed several turnovers.
Alexander’s freshman ball handler, Allyson Malone, proved how far she has come this season as she hit a big three pointer down the stretch and handled the ball for her team confidently in their last couple possessions.
While Wellston controlled the first half of this game, Alexander managed to hang around, setting themselves up for what proved to be a dramatic second half. Coach Denton Guthrie addressed his team’s slow start, but was just glad they got things going.
“We’ve been close at halftime in about five or six games now,” Guthrie said after the win. “We just seem to always come out flat in third quarters, but not tonight. The Girls talked about it at halftime and knew they couldn’t afford that.”
The Lady Spartans pla yed arguably their most complete quarter of the season in the third, scoring 16 points and outscoring Wellston by four. Wellston had a clear size advantage in this matchup, but the Lady Spartans countered by spreading the floor and beating their defenders off the dribble. Rankin, Malone, and Junior Reanna Putnam played aggressive on offense and repeatedly used their quickness to get to the basket.
Understandably, this victory for the young Lady Spartans left them with smiles on their faces and something to celebrate. Coach Guthrie was just glad to see the hard work pay off.
“We feel like we’ve been playing really hard and practicing hard,” Guthrie said. “ I couldn’t guarantee them we would ever win a game, but we knew we could feel great about our work. We have started to turn a corner, and these girls deserved to get a win.”
The Lady Spartans travel to Vinton County next week to try to build off of this victory.