Pippa Passes, KY: The Alice Lloyd College Eagles faced the River States Conference defending champion West Virginia Tech Golden Bears on Tuesday, January 21st. In a nail-biter that was action-packed and went into overtime, Tech pulled out the 88-85 win.
In the opening stanza, the squads played back and forth ball and WVT led 16-14 as the clock reached the ten-minute mark.
Over the next four minutes, ALC would go on an 11-1 run. The surge was sparked by six points from senior guard Blake Smith and a trifecta from sophomore guard Bryce Slone. Suddenly, the home club pulled ahead 25-17 with 5:43 showing.
The Golden Bears would then close on a late 13-7 flurry, led by guard Junior Array, and trail 32-30 at intermission. In the second half, the visitors came out and promptly buried three consecutive triples to turn the momentum in their favor. Array would then take over and lead his club to their largest lead of the night (51-40) with 12:38 left to play.
However, this squad of Eagles refused to back down against their worthy opponents and began to chip away at the deficit. Unfortunately, after slicing the lead to just three (65-62), the home fans would see Tech respond once more. With just 1:55 left to play, the Mountaineer squad led 73-66 and appeared poised to have the game under control.
However, someone forgot to tell Coach Scott Cornett’s club that the game was over. Instead, his scrappy group fought back. First, Smith completed an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:48 showing, then he sank two more jumpers. Later with the Eagles trailing 74-71 and .17 left, he got a huge steal. With the crowd on its feet and roaring in approval, Slone shot a long bomb at .04 looking to tie the game. His miss brought a collective groan from the fans.
Miraculously, the long rebound ended up in the hands of junior guard Noah Young, whose three-pointer tickled the twine with only 1.2 ticks left. The crowd was delirious with excitement as the score was now tied (74-74). When Eagle sophomore forward Will Philpot knocked down the last second pass, the game was headed towards overtime.
The extra period could not have started any better for the Pippa Passes men. First, center Colyn Sturgill was fouled on a strong post move and completed the three-point play (79-76). Then after forcing a turnover, Slone swished a deep jumper. Suddenly the hosts led 82-76.
This time, unfortunately, the visitors found some magic. Trailing 82-79, Tech guard Dominik King sank a huge bomb and was fouled on the play. His rare four-point play changed the momentum. WV then made their free throws to pull out the hard-fought victory.
For Alice Lloyd (9-11; 3-5 RSC) three players reached double figures. They were led on the night by Smith who finished the contest with 35 points. He also grabbed 5 rebounds and handed out a career-high 11 assists. Additionally, his twelfth point of the night gave him 2,000 for his career, which makes him just the fourth Eagle in school history to reach this prestigious mark.
Young added 13 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds while Slone chipped in with 11 points and 2 steals. Philpot contributed 9 points and 15 rebounds while classmate Sturgill was just behind with 7 points and 7 rebounds.
ALC shot 35.6% (31-87) from the field and 26.1% (6-23) from long range. They sank 77.3% (17-22) from the foul line. They also added 55 rebounds, 26 assists, and 4 steals.
For WV Tech (12-7; 7-1 RSC), Arrey led the way with 23 points.
His club finished shooting 33.8% (25-74) from the floor and 40% (14-35) from behind the arc. They sank 80% (24-30) from the foul line and also added 55 rebounds, 22 assists, and 9 steals.
ALC returns to conference action on Thursday, January 23rd with a 7:30 pm matchup at Rio Grande University.