By JACK MARTIN
In their last non-conference game of the year, the ladies of ALAH High School took the journey southeast to Marshall High School. It was obvious they still hadn’t gained their legs back from the bus ride, as they had a sluggish opening period. The Knights were unable to defend at the high level they typically do, and the Lions scored at will. The quarter closed with a score of 8-19.
ALAH must have woke up in the second quarter because they kept up with the solid Lions squad. Despite raising their efficiency on both ends of the court, their first quarter deficit haunted them and the score showed 19-31.
The Knights came out of the break with a few quick buckets to cut the lead, but the speed of the Lions caught up to them. They came back and forced turnovers on ALAH, leading to an extension of the Marshall lead. Heading into the fourth with a 14-point deficit, the Knights needed to score quickly if they wanted a chance. They did so with buckets from the likes of Mackenzi Bowles and Alexa Miller, but time became the biggest opponent as they were forced to foul. Marshall extended their lead off of late free throws and downed the Knights 35-54.
Mackenzi Bowles scored her average on the year at 12 points. Alexa Miller supplemented Bowles with 7 of her own. Jolynn Barbee knocked down two triples for 6 points. Makenzie Brown, 5; Kailee Otto, 3; and Mallory Nichols, 2.
The last regular-season opponent for the Knights was against the Purple Riders of Arcola High School. In a matchup highly-favored toward the Knights, the Riders flipped the script by locking them up on offense. The Knights replicated that though as they also played tough defensively.
From the tip-off, it was made evident that this was going to be a gritty, ground out game. After a quarter of play, there was not much scoring to show for as the Knights led 6-5. The second quarter was much like the first in the regard that each team simply lacked the capability to score the ball at an effective rate. Eventually, the half lulled by to a score of 12-8 in favor of the Knights.
Clearly, the lead was not safe for the Knights and at one point the Riders tied the game after the second half began. Luckily, both squads scored at a much more efficient rate and rose the level of excitement. The Knights were expected to pull away but found themselves with the same 4-point lead they had a period ago.
In a tense fourth quarter, the Knights did manage to sustain their lead with solid play made inside from Makenzie Brown. The Knights closed a defense-heavy matchup with a 37-31 victory over the home team Arcola Purple Riders.
Makenzie Brown came up huge in a game that was not anticipated to be close. She scored 12 points in this contest. Both Mackenzi Bowles and Alexa Miller had 7 points, but Bowles rebounded well with 8 in that category. Shaylie Miller scored 4 points; Jolynn Barbee, 3; and Kirsten Corum, 2.