Lady Cougars win in Presnell’s coaching debut
By D.N. PENNELL, Jr.
Alexander Central High School tipped off the 2019-20 basketball season with a four-game set against the visiting North Iredell Raiders on Friday evening, November 22, in the Cougar Den in Taylorsville.
ACHS took three of four games on the night. The Cougars swept the junior varsity contests and split the two varsity games to close the evening.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the night for ACHS fans came in the varsity women’s opener against the Lady Raiders. In the debut of Head Coach Jon Presnell, ACHS rolled to a 29-point win over the visitors from Olin, winning 62-33. ACHS never trailed in the game and led 12-10 after the first period. From there, the home team pulled away en route to the one-sided victory. Alexander outscored the Raiders 50-23 over the final three quarters, including a 29-9 run in the second half.
Alexander shot 43 percent from the floor in the win and dominated the points in the paint, outscoring North 36-12 on the inside. North Iredell was held to 21 percent shooting and committed 27 turnovers.
Gracie Harrington paced the Alexander offense with a game-high 18 points. In her first high school contest, freshman Sydney Hayes tallied 14 points and garnered five steals.
Nikki Hagy tallied eight points and snared a game-best 14 assists. In addition, senior guard Lanie Hammer stuffed the stat sheet with six points, eight assists, and five steals.
Jewel Allen was the lone Raider in double figures with 14 points.
COUGARS SWEEP JV GAMES
Alexander opened the first day of the hoops season with a junior varsity sweep over North Iredell in the Cougar Den on Friday.
In the JV women’s contest, Alexander recovered from a slow start to post a 35-21 win.
Alexander trailed 19-10 at the half before erupting to seize control of the game over the final two periods. In the second half of play, Alexander outscored the visitors 25-2 to secure the 14-point win.
Alexander’s offense was balanced in the win with four players scoring at least six points apiece. Grace Taraban led the effort with seven points, while Anna Taraban, Anna Reid, and Kaley McDaniel tallied six points each.
In game two, Alexander Central’s JV Men also pulled away in the second half to post a double digit win. Led by a huge performance from freshman Andrew Fox, the young Cougars claimed a 37-25 win over the JV Raiders.
The game was tied at the intermission. However, the Cougars took control with a 23-11 scoring margin in the second half.
Fox’s 21 point effort led all scorers in the game. Kolten DeJarnette added five points and Jenner Barnes tallied four points for the Cougars.
VARSITY MEN FALL IN OT
In the final game of the day on Friday, ACHS dropped its only contest of the evening in a 48-45 overtime loss in the varsity men’s game.
North Iredell (2-0) sprinted out of the gate to score the game’s first 10 points. The Cougars rebounded to take a 13-12 lead early in the second period. However, the Raiders rallied again and led by nine points at the break, taking a 25-16 lead at the half.
Facing an up-hill battle in the second half, the Cougars managed to outscore North Iredell 26-17 over the final two periods. As a result, the game entered overtime with the score knotted at 42-42.
In the extra period, the Raiders outscored the home team 6-3 to escape with the three-point win.
Sophomore guard Evan Presnell paced Alexander with 14 points. Maddox Kerley tallied eight points and eight rebounds for the Cougars, while Dalton Stikeleather added seven points.
Jackson Hawkins led the Raiders with 13 points, while John Jackson added 10 points for the visitors.
The Cougars are slated to play road games at Ashe County High School on Tuesday, November 26.