[Tim Hanna | WOUB]

Alexander directs the South Point Pointers back home in first round victory

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ALBANY, Ohio (WOUB) — The eleventh-seeded Alexander Lady Spartans were able to hold off the 22-seed South Point Pointers in their Division III sectional game on Saturday afternoon. South Point challenged Alexander with a hard-fought performance in the second half, but the Lady Spartans were able to prevail down the stretch in route to a 52-46 victory.

In the first half, the Lady Spartans were able to jump out to a hot offensive start thanks to efficient three-point shooting. Kara Meeks, Marlee Grinstead, and Olivia Ohms all contributed to Alexander’s efforts from behind the arc. Meeks was able to convert her first three attempts from three and Grinstead converted the first two threes of her own, including a half-court heave to beat the first quarter buzzer.

Although the Lady Spartans were firing on all cylinders on offense, the Pointers were able to hang around just enough in the first half, as they only trailed Alexander 22-30 headed into the halftime locker room. A big reason to why this game did not get out of hand early was the Pointer’s tenacious offensive rebounding.

The adjustments of South Point were clear in the second half of action, as they elected to play full-court pressure defense against the Lady Spartans for the majority of the second half. This proved to be a positive adjustment for the Pointers as Grinstead and the rest of the Alexander ball-handlers were under harassment for most of this half. The intense South Point Pressure led to turnovers and burnt timeouts for the Lady Spartans, only leading to more pressure later in this game.

Alexander head coach Jeff Grinstead expressed how difficult it was to handle the Pointer’s pressure down the stretch of this game. When asked about the second half pressure, he talked about the difficulty of handling those situations for less-experienced players.

“At times we handled it okay. But other times we get to a point where some of our girls don’t trust some of our other girls at the end of the game like that. It’s tough for them, and it’s tough for the other girls to throw them the ball,” Grinstead said.

Although the full-court pressure turned into offensive momentum for South Point, it also led to many Pointer team fouls in the second half. The Lady Spartans were in the bonus early in the fourth quarter, which turned out to be a key for the result of this game.

Whenever the Pointers went on an offensive run late in this game, the Lady Spartans had success getting to the foul-line. Because of free-throws late in the game, Alexander was able to hold on to their lead for the victory despite the late efforts of South Point.

The senior leadership of the Lady Spartans led Alexander’s scoring as Marlee Grinstead finished with 20 points and Kara Meeks finished with 19 points.

With the win, the Lady Spartans advance to the district quarterfinals on Wednesday as they’ll look to survive and advance as they will travel to face the sixth-seeded New Lexington Panthers.un