Updated Fri, Dec 13, 2013 10:15 am
Strong guard play wasn’t enough to propel the Alexander Lady Spartans (4-2, 1-2 TVC-Ohio) to a win against conference rival Vinton County (4-3, 2-1 TVC-Ohio) in McArthur, as the Lady Spartans fell, 63-57.
Alexander hit the ground running in the first eight minutes.
Two fast break layups by junior guard Allyson Malone helped jump-start their lead. Additionally, senior forward Chandra Wilson effectively clogged the middle, making it hard for Vinton County to drive in for shots.
But Lady Vikings forward Michaela Puckett changed the momentum in the third quarter. She was 5-of-5 in the frame, scoring 10 of her team’s 16 points.
In the fourth quarter, Alexander switched to a zone defense in an attempt to slow Puckett down and clog the middle of the floor. Puckett responded by drawing in defenders, and kicking it out to teammates for open shots.
Similarly, the Vikings had to adjust their usual defensive strategy.
“In the second half, we went to a matchup zone. We had to do something a little different so their little guard couldn’t just go right down the middle and shoot layups,” said Lady Vikings head coach Mark Dixon.
In the second half, Malone tried to keep the Lady Spartans in the game by shooting 3-of-5 from behind the arc and making key steals on the defensive end.
The final minutes of the game were tight, but it came down to whom hustled more. The Lady Vikings won the stamina battle and were rewarded with late trips to the free throw line. Vinton County was able to hit their shots from the charity stripe to ice the win.
Dixon continued by stating, “We’ve talked about the need to hit the boards and get rebounds. We tried to switch our defense off and on here. They’re decent shooters and we wanted to lock down the inside.”
The Lady Vikings converted on 7 of their 10 attempts in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Guard Leah Richardson played well for the Lady Spartans, racking up 19 points in the contest. However, the freshman showed her inexperience down the stretch by continuously forcing shots that weren’t sinking in the last eight minutes.
Alexander will look to get their record back on track as they compete this Saturday at noon, in the Lady Rockets Classic.
Vinton County will travel to Nelsonville-York next Thursday, Dec. 19, to take on the Lady Buckeyes.