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McAlister-led Airedales roll, 72-65 11/29/21

McAlister-led Airedales roll, 72-65

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


LINCOLN — Alma boys basketball coach Dominic Lincoln made it a point to play as many kids as possible in Tuesday’s third-place game of the Turkey Shoot Tournament. He stuck to his guns.


But when the Wolves cut into a 20-point deficit with a 12-0 run with 5:36 left to play, he knew who he had to turn to. 


Hunter McAlister doesn’t wear Superman’s cape. But it was hard to tell otherwise Tuesday night. 


McAlister scored 11 straight Alma points and the Airedales built a 70-52 lead before coasting to a 72-65 victory, the team’s third win in four games. 


Alma won’t play again until Rogers comes to town for the first of two games at the Charles B. Dyer Classic on Dec. 3. 


“Hunter was big for us,” Lincoln said. “He’s got to be big for us all year inside. Also, Ben (Bugaj) gave us a spurt today, and Logan Taylor’s shooting the ball well. I thought he shot it really well this tournament. We’ve got a lot of guys who need to continue to step up and make plays.”


McAlister finished with a season-high 23 points. His defensive presence also helped Alma take control of the game. Which, late in the third quarter, seemed to be at hand. 


Two foul shots by Branson Brogan put the Airedales ahead 56-36 with a minute to play in the third. By that time, Lincoln had pulled all five of his starters. 


But the Wolves weren’t about to go quietly. Four missed shots by the Airedales, five turnovers, and a pair of Ryan Reed 3-pointers later, Lincoln was within striking distance — suddenly down just eight.


“I don’t want to be at our best right now,” Lincoln said. “We’re in the process of getting better. I thought we did a lot of good things over the course of this tournament. Obviously, there’s a lot of things we’ve got to work on. 


“We got to see what some of our strengths are and what we need to work on, so I feel better.”


Taylor finished with 13 points, which is right at his season average (12.2), and Bugaj added 11. He, too, has been good of late, averaging 12 points in Alma’s last two games. 


Daniel Howard added five points, and Brogan and Stewart George had four apiece. 


Kingston 45, Alma 37 


GIRLS — For the second game in a row, the Lady Airedales spotted their opponent a 12-point first-half lead. 


This time, they weren’t able to overcome the deficit. 


Kingston ran out to a 12-1 lead, and despite being outscored 36-33 over the final three quarters, captured the Turkey Shoot Championship with a 45-37 win over Alma at Lincoln High School. 


Alma will face Paragould on Dec. 3. 


Kiara Owens had a career-high 10 points for the Lady Airedales. 


Down 18-2 late in the second quarter, Alma got within 20-8 at the half, and Jordan Gramlich opened the second half with a 3-pointer. 


But the Lady Airedales got no closer than eight on Owens’ last-second 3-pointer. Alma scored 19 fourth-quarter points, including 15 in the final 4:03. Gramlich and Kenzie Rushing finished with nine and eight points, respectively.