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Gritty Airedales fall to Titans, 41-36 1/3/22

Gritty Airedales fall to Titans, 41-36

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


SHERIDAN — Another close loss didn’t seem to dampen the mood from within the Airedales’ locker room Thursday night. 


Jacksonville’s Tate Jones hit a clinching layup to help the Titans seal a 41-36 win over the Airedales in the finals of the Sheridan Tournament. 


Alma (3-8) opens 5A-West play Jan. 7 at Vilonia. 


A hard schedule, coach Dominic Lincoln pointed to, will hopefully have the team ready for the tough conference schedule that awaits. 


“I wanted to get us ready for the conference,” Lincoln said. “I challenged them. I think we went through some lulls, but this week we beat a really good Sheridan team and battled a good Jacksonville team that has a lot of tradition. We’re going to take this experience and build on it and it’s going to carry us in conference.”


The Airedales took a three-point halftime lead and were still in front (28-26) following Hunter Mcalister’s last basket. 


But Jacksonville went ahead for good on Jones’ bucket with 2:21 left. In fact, the Titans took control with an 8-0 scoring run. 


Alma whittled a 37-30 deficit to 39-36 on Demetrio Cerda’s second 3-pointer of the game with under three minutes left... 


But Mcalister, who was playing with four staples in his head following a collision with a Sheridan player the night before, missed two foul shots with 2:35 left that could have brought Alma within a point. 


Mcalister finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. 


Down 34-28 after three, Alma outscored the Titans, 8-7, in the final quarter, finishing with just three fourth-quarter field goals. 


Alma took its first lead of the game (5-4) on the first of three Logan Taylor 3-pointers. The Airedales’ junior finished with 13 points. 


Taylor’s third triple put Alma up 19-16, and his feed to Mcalister led to a go-ahead dunk and a 21-20 lead. Mcalister finished a strong first half with another bucket for a 23-20 lead. 


“I told the kids we had opportunities and we made shots,” Lincoln said. ‘We missed some, too, but at the same time, we played hard to give ourselves a chance. The energy and playing hard and competing is something we have to keep doing.”