ACHS grabs key road win over Lake Norman, 70-58
By D.N. PENNELL, Jr.
The Alexander Central Varsity Men’s Basketball Team moved into the top spot in the North Piedmont Conference standings after its 70-58 road win over Lake Norman on Tuesday, January 31, in Mooresville.
The Cougars led for most of Tuesday’s game and quelled a late Wildcat rally to win their eighth straight game. The win upped Alexander’s NPC record to 9-2, one-half game in front of Lake Norman (8-2). Lake Norman is slated to play Mooresville in another crucial game this evening.
Both teams started fast on Tuesday. In the first quarter of the game, Lake Norman took an early four-point lead before seeing the Cougars rally late in the frame to lead 20-16 after one stanza. Alexander’s Kaleb Parsons and Wildcat senior Brian Dow paced their teams in the first quarter fireworks. Dow netted 14 of Lake’s 16 first-quarter points. For Alexander, Parsons (11 pts.) hit a pair of three-pointers and converted an old fashioned three-point play when he was fouled on a soaring dunk.
Alexander added to its lead with a 13-11 run in the second period to lead 33-27 at the half.
The Cougars (14-7) saw their lead grow to 14 points at 44-30 when Parsons hit his third three-pointer of the night with 3:22 to play in the third.
Alexander carried a 48-35 lead into the fourth period and managed to thwart a late Wildcat spurt to claim the victory by a dozen points. A Dow three-pointer with 2:41 to play pulled the home team within four points at 56-52.
The Cougars picked up a pair of key defensive stops in the game’s final minute to key an 8-0 run. Justin Dula and Parsons scored transition baskets following the defensive stops to regain the momentum for ACHS.
The 8-0 uprising in a 40 second span allowed Alexander to stretch the lead to 66-54 with 39 seconds to play and sealed the Cougar win. Noah Presnell, Blan Hodges, and Matt Graham converted foul shots down the stretch as Alexander secured the victory at the charity stripe.
“I am really proud of our guys and how they played tonight. We were able to stretch out our lead in the third quarter before Lake Norman made a run at us late. We stepped up and got stops when we needed them. Then we were able to get a couple of easy baskets and made our free throws down the stretch. It was a great team effort tonight,” ACHS Coach Ed Wills said after the win. “ I can’t say enough about how all of our guys stepped up tonight. We are really coming together and playing at a high level right now. We still have a lot of work to do and need to keep getting better.”
Alexander shot 49 percent from the floor and hit 83 percent (19 for 23) of its free throws on the night. Parsons finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Justin Dula (15 points, 7RB) and Noah Presnell (11 points) also reached double figures in the win. Blan Hodges turned in a steady effort off the ACHS bench with six points and a team-best five assists. Kendall Flowers and Matt Graham also tallied six points apiece.
Lake Norman senior Brian Dow scored 22 points to lead the Wildcats on the team’s Senior Night.
LADY COUGARS ROLL
In the varsity opener, the ACHS Varsity Women rallied from an early nine-point deficit to win over Lake Norman 51-34. The Lady Cougars (13-8, 8-3) outscored the home team 42-22 over the final three quarters to post an impressive 17-point win.
A trio of Lady Cougars, led by senior Abby Cook, reached double figures in the win. Cook turned in another double-double effort with 17 points and 16 rebounds. The senior forward and Wingate signee added three assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Alexis Anthony finished with 14 points for Alexander, while Key Key Miller contributed a dozen points.
Despite shooting 32 percent from the floor, the Lady Cougars played one of their most efficient games offensively, committing just eight turnovers all night.
LAKE NORMAN SWEEPS JV COUGAR SQUADS
In Tuesday’s JV twinbill, Lake Norman recorded a two-game sweep over the visiting JV Cougars.
In game one, Lake Norman outscored ACHS 14-5 in the fourth quarter en route to a 37-29 win. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the young Cougars.
Rylie Rhyne led Alexander with seven points, while Gracie Rhoney added six points in the loss. Lanie Hammer and Teagan Pennell scored five points each.
The Wildcats completed the JV sweep with a 51-41 win in the men’s game. The Wildcats used a 17-12 run in the fourth to break the contest open.
Dalton Stikeleather with nine points and Lucas Walker and Lyndon Strickland (eight points each) led the Alexander offense in the loss.
The ACHS Teams travel to Mooresville for four league games on Friday, February 3, at Mooresville Senior High School.