PIPPA PASSES, KY- Senior forward Tyler Rogers sank a bucket with .09 remaining to lift the Alice Lloyd Eagles to a thrilling 73-72 come-from-behind-victory over the University of Rio Grande Red Storm last night in quarterfinal action of the 2016 KIAC Tournament. The matchup took place at the Grady Nutt Athletic Center.
Both squads knew what was at stake in last night’s game and the two teams battled from the opening tip. The competitors traded hoops as neither was able to take a lead of more than 4 points for the first 15 minutes of play.
The Eagles made the first major run of the half with 4:19 remaining and the hosts clinging to a 30-28 lead. At this point, ALC’s senior guard Cody Stumbo sank a bucket for a 32-28 advantage. Next, at 3:31, junior Mason Pack posted strong to give his club a 6 point cushion. When senior Dakota Hall made a nice move inside and scored with 2:57 showing, the Eagles led 36-28 and were on the brink of opening a double digit lead.
Rio showed their determination by reeling off a 11-3 run to tie things up at 39 just 24 ticks before the half, but Alice Lloyd senior guard Jordan Combs drained a deep triple just ahead of the buzzer to give the hosts a 42-39 advantage at intermission.
In the second half, the Red Storm blasted out of the locker room on a 7-0 run in the first 2:19 to leap ahead 46-42, but the hosts fought back to knot things up at 50 with 14:03 showing on a Dondre Warren free throw.
Once again URG responded and took a 6 point lead on three free throws from guard Matt Rhodes at 11:31 only to see the Eagles respond once more and retake the lead (60 -59)sparked by back to back trifectas from Pack.
Rio Grande looked to deliver the knockout blow as they managed to go on a 13-5 run capped off by a short jumper from guard Corey Cruse in the paint. With just 3:22 remaining, the Red Storm held a 72-65 advantage, and appeared ready to advance to the next round. At this point, Alice Lloyd showed their true grit.
First, Stumbo was fouled with 1:31 remaining and coolly swished two free throws to set the score 72-67.
On the next possession, ALC’s Rogers stole the ball and found a streaking Austin Crisp, who was fouled on the layup at 1:13. After his two swishes, the score was suddenly 72-69 and the crowd was worked into a fever pitch.
On the inbounds play, ALC pressed and Warren made a huge steal from Rio’s Travis Elliott. He quickly fed Combs who sank a layup at 1:01. The crowd exploded as the deficit shrank to one at 72-71.
After the hosts called timeout, the Red Storm looked for a good scoring opportunity. Guard Kevonta Black was blocked on his field goal attempt by Alice Lloyds Crisp, but URG’s big 6’10 Dwayne Bazemore snared the miss and looked to give his club a three point lead. Much to the delight of Eagle fans, Rogers contested the shot and retrieved the rebound after he forced the miss. With .32 remaining, incredibly Alice Lloyd had a chance to take the lead.
The Eagles ran the ball down to .14 before Crisp beat his man off the dribble and penetrated for what looked like a sure-fire layup. To the dismay of the home crowd, his attempt was blocked by Bazemore.
ALC’s Rogers reacted and snagged the errant ball. Determined to take matters into his own hands, the lanky senior hesitated before making a strong move towards the rim. He fired a soft bank shot over the outstretched arms of Bazemore that tickled the twine with.09 left. The fans went wild with joy as the Red Storm called timeout.
The Eagles then played intelligent defense. Having just 4 team fouls, they allowed Rio to burn precious clock twice before fouling them with no free throw attempts. The Red Storm now had the ball in front of their own bench, but just 1.9 precious seconds remained.
With the crowd on its feet and the game on the line, URG attempted to lob inside to Bazemore for the potential winning goal. Fortunately for the home squad, Warren got a hand on the pass. This move enabled Rogers to swat it in the air where it was snared by Warren as the buzzer sounded.
For the victors (17-11), Rogers led all scorers with 16 points as he connected on 7-14 field goals. He added 5 rebounds and 5 blocks. He was joined in double figures by fellow seniors Combs and Stumbo with 13 and 11 points respectively. Combs sank 5-7 field goals (3-4 threes) while Stumbo was 4-8 and sank both free throws attempts to spark the last run.
Also coming up huge were Pack with 10 points, and Warren, who chipped in with 9 points while recording team highs with 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals.
Crisp added 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Shane Hall and Dakota Hall netted 4 points each.
Rio (17-14) was led by Cruse with 14 points.
You can find an updated tournament bracket here.