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Pippa Passes, KY: The Alice Lloyd College Eagles battled for fifty-five minutes before falling in a heartbreaker at the buzzer to the visiting Rio Grande Red Storm, 97-96. The contest was held on Wednesday, January 13th.

In the opening half, ALC raced out to a quick 13-3 lead in the first three minutes only to watch Rio hang around and eventually knot the score at 26-26 with 5:52 remaining.

The Eagles closed the half with a 14-10 run to pull ahead 40-36 at intermission.

In the second half, the Eagles would fight to hold the advantage. When junior guard Bryce Slone drained the second of his back-to-back bombs, the hosts led by six 57-51. Later, two free throws from sophomore center Noah Caudill would help the advantage reach eight (59-51) with just over ten minutes left in regulation.

Unfortunately, two old-fashioned three-point plays would fuel a 14-0 blitz from the visitors. A triple from guard Miki Tadic would help his club forge in front, 65-61, at the 7:42 mark.

ALC refused to fold and fought back to regain the lead (75-73) on a Noah Young drive at the .30 mark. Rio then got the ball to Tadic. His two free throws with .04 tied the score at 75 and led to overtime.

In the first OT, the visitors drew first blood, but the Pippa Passes crew refused to back away. Eventually, the game would be tied at 81 apiece and Alice Lloyd had the ball for the final shot. However, senior guard Chandler Stewart’s jumper at the buzzer came up short.

In the second OT, the weary combatants were cautious with the ball, knowing the importance of each possession. The Eagles would once again have the roundball at the end with an opportunity to earn the victory, but once again, their attempt came up just short.

In the third OT, Rio Grande pulled out to a 95-92 cushion with just 1:22 left to play, but ALC would answer. First, Slone would score on a strong drive to the hoop. Next, after getting a crucial defensive stop on the next possession, Alice Lloyd would gain control once more.

Stewart had the ball and looked to penetrate. Suddenly, he found sophomore forward Damon Tobler alone under the rim. Stewart’s nifty pass led to a Tobler bucket, and suddenly, ALC led 96-95 with 9 ticks showing. Tobler was fouled on the attempt and went to the line looking to give his club the two-point edge. However, his try bounced off and the Red Storm had the ball with a chance to win.

On the final possession, Rio got the ball to leading scorer Andrew Schull. Shull almost lost the ball, then launched a last-second 18-foot jumper over the outstretched hand of Stewart as the buzzer sounded. Unfortunately, this shot rang true, and Rio had pulled out the hard-fought win.

For the tough luck Eagles, four players reached double figures. They were led on the night by Young with 20 points. He added 4 assists. He was followed by Stewart and Slone with 16 points apiece. Tobler contributed 15 points.

Caudill chipped in with 8 points and 5 rebounds, while junior forward Will Philpot added 7 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks before fouling out. Junior center Colyn Sturgill snagged 8 rebounds.

ALC shot 46.3% (37-80) from the field and 33.3% (5-15) from long range. They sank 68% (17-25) from the foul line while adding 49 rebounds, 8 assists, and 6 steals.

For Rio (7-6), Tadic pumped in 34 points. His club finished shooting 46.8% (37-79) from the floor and 33.3% (8-24) from behind the arc. They sank 88.2% (15-17) from the foul line and also added 40 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals.

ALC returns to action this week on Saturday when they play host to Oakland City University at 1 pm.