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Alexander High School Lady Spartans cheer after a defensive play against the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes in Albany, Ohio, on Thursday, February 7, 2019. (Haldan Kirsch/WOUB)

Alexander Lady Spartans Fight Their Way into Sectional Finals

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JACKSON, Ohio– The name of the game for Alexander was tempo.

Turnovers were pivotal to fast break opportunities which helped the Lady Spartans run away with the victory against the Portsmouth Lady Trojans, 55-24 in the Sectional Semi-Finals of the OHSAA State Tournament.

The game was slow paced through the first two periods, Kara Meeks was leading the charge on the rebounding end as she went into halftime having already totaled 11 rebounds, four of which were offensive. This was what seemed to be the game plan for Alexander, get the ball into the post and crash the glass.

This changed when the on-ball defense by Taylor Meadows and Jaydn Mace became potent as they forced six total turnover which allowed Marlee Grinstead to get into transition for easy layups.

They say “Defense wins championships,” and with a top scorer in Hannah Hughes for Portsmouth, that was of high priority for the Lady Spartans. Meadows was tasked to defend Hughes and held her to only three made field goals on over 20 shot attempts. Hughes finished the game with 13 of her team’s 24 points.

This was an all-around effort from the Alexander squad as seven of ten players contributed at least two points in the win. The depth of the bench was essential for players who got into foul trouble in the first half, and they continued to pour on points as the game came to a close with the starters getting needed rest going into the rest of the tournament.

Coach Grinstead talked about how he was impressed with his girls and needs the effort to continue throughout the tournament.

“Our team realizes the importance of the tournament, this is what we talk about all year,” Grinstead said. “This is our focus, it feels like this is our time, and the kids know that. They want to go as far as they can go, and I thought they really brought the energy, more energy to start than we’ve brought all year… that’s fine with me because that’s where we want to be during tournament time, if you aren’t going to bring it now then you just aren’t going to bring it, and I felt like we did that tonight.”

Alexander will look to continue their win streak as they face-off with the Coal Grove Lady Hornets on Saturday in the Section Finals at Jackson High School at 1 p.m.