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McAlister, hot-shooting fuel Alma 11/15/21

McAlister, hot-shooting fuel Alma 

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 

 

Alma coach Dominic Lincoln couldn’t have orchestrated Thursday’s win over Beebe any better. 

 

But that doesn’t mean the Airedales’ coach didn’t find a few flaws in the team’s 57-44 victory. 

 

One down, 24 to go. 

 

“It feels good to go out there and get that first win,” Lincoln said. “That’s a really good team. Rylie Marshall (Beebe guard) is a really good player and (Roger) Franks does a good job. I hope we can capitalize on this one and keep it going for the future.”

 

Alma trailed Beebe only briefly (2-0) before two first-time starters, Demetrio Cerda and Ben Bugaj, drained a trio of 3-pointers to give Alma a quick 9-2 lead. 

 

Both finished with six points apiece. The 3-point shooting was spot-on for the Airedales, who connected on 9-of-14 3-pointers. 

 

In all, the Airedales shot a blistering 59 percent from the field. Alma was even better from the free-throw line, connecting on 8-of-9 attempts. 

 

Logan Taylor added a pair of 3-pointers, including a trey that put the Airedales ahead 49-40 and triggered a clinching 11-4 scoring run. 

 

“It feels great to come out here and play like that in front of the home crowd and set the tone,” Lincoln said. “I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I really believe in playing the right way — playing with a lot of energy, pride, and playing together.”

 

When the Airedales weren’t knocking down clutch 3s, Hunter McAlister was crashing the boards for 20 points, eight rebounds, and a pair of blocks. 

 

“We know that we’re going to play through him and our defense is going to start with him,” Lincoln said. “He’s going to have to play a lot. He got tired and I told him, ‘Listen, everybody around in this huddle needs you right now, so you’ve got to go out there and finish!’

 

“I thought he did a great job of battling and making buckets.”

 

Alma led 11-6 after one quarter and 27-19 late in the first half before settling on a 29-22 lead at the break. 

 

Beebe (1-1) closed to within 34-30 late in the third quarter when Daniel Howard popped a corner trey with 1:41 to play. The Airedales led 43-34 after three, and McAlister’s bucket made it 46-36 with 6:33 to play.

 

Stewart George had seven points and led the team with six assists and three steals. Taylor and Daniel Howard added three assists each. Taylor finished with 10 points.

 

Defensively, the Airedales limited Beebe to just 34 percent shooting from the field and 9-of-18 from the foul line. 

 

Marshall led Beebe with 14 points on 3 of 11 shooting.

 

Beebe 48, Alma 36

 

GIRLS — After closing to within two (35-33) at the close of the third quarter, the Lady Airedales were in a position to pull off an upset of Beebe on Thursday night. 

 

But the Lady Badgers locked down on defense, limiting the Lady Airedales to just three-quarter free throws while pulling away for a 48-36 victory at Charles B. Dyer Arena. 

 

Alma had its moments. Junior Presli Taylor led all scorers with 16 points thanks to some strong 3-point shooting. 

 

The Lady Airedales trailed for much of the night before catching fire midway through the final quarter. A pair of 3-pointers by Kenzie Rushing and Taylor capped an 8-0 run and put Alma ahead 31-28 with 3:23 to play in the quarter. 

 

But Beebe finished the game on a 20-5 scoring run. Alma freshman Kiara Owens scored at the end of the quarter to pull the Lady Airedales within two. 

 

Up 38-34, Beebe closed the game with a 10-2 burst. Mya Bradley led the Lady Badgers with 15 points.