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Airedales claim conference opener

By Kevin Taylor
Alma Schools 
 
Mountain Home went into Tuesday's game hoping to slow down Alma's twin towers — 6-foot-7 posts Nathan Whalen and Hunter McAlister. 
 
But they forgot about junior Logan Taylor
 
Taylor hit five late free throws and was 6-of-8 from the 3-point line in the Airedales' 68-60 5A-West victory over the Bombers at Charles B. Dyer Arena. 
 
Alma (6-2, 1-0) will host Vilonia (7-3, 0-1) Friday. 
 
"We came out ready to go tonight," Alma coach Stan Flenor said. "We shot the ball extremely well, especially early. We played with a lot of confidence early, and this team needs that."
 
Alma, which rolled out five first-time starters this season, finished 5-2 during an abbreviated nonconference schedule, which some tight wins over Pea Ridge and Lamar. 
 
For the most part, save a 23-point loss to Bentonville West, Alma's led in every game. They were on their mark early Tuesday, too. 
 
Taylor scored five early points, then hit three straight 3-pointers to bump Alma's lead to 31-11 early in the second quarter. 
 
"We were strong inside and Logan hit a couple of threes early and we were just clicking early," Flenor said. "Defensively, we forced them into some bad situations and they didn't shoot the ball well in the second quarter."
 
Taylor's fourth trey gave the Airedales their largest lead (48-23). 
 
But Mountain Home's Wyatt Gilbert, who came into the game averaging close to 20 points per outing, wasn't quite done. He helped fuel an 18-0 run to cut Alma's hefty lead to seven (48-41). 
 
Taylor's fifth triple put the breaks on the run. He finished with five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. 
 
Nathan Whalen, who had 18 points and eight boards, scored six points and added three clutch free throws in the victory. 
 
Along with Taylor and Whalen, Drew Battles (14) and McAlister (11) finished in double figures. 
 
The Airedales were 10-of-15 from the 3-point line and 12-of-17 from the free-throw line. Taylor and Whalen combined to go 10-of-12 from the line. 
 
Mountain Home 34, Alma 25
 
GIRLS — Mountain Home used its defensive prowess to power past Alma Tuesday, 34-25. 
 
Alma (6-5, 0-1) took a 20-16 lead into the break before going cold in the second half. The Lady Airedales, who were led by Chloe Trusty's seven points, managed just two second-half field goals. 
 
Mountain Home (2-8, 1-0) trailed 12-5 early in the second quarter before ripping off a 29-13 run to close the game. 
 
Presli Taylor, Kenzie Rushing, and Halyn Carmack finished with six points each for the Lady Airedales.