Alcoa vs West

Alcoa uses strong third quarter to avenge early season loss to West


KNOXVILLE – Alcoa used a big third quarter to break open a game that was tightly contested early on, as the Tornadoes outscored West by 15 in the period and went on to preserve a 69-59 win.

The win avenges a 73-71 loss in the Alcoa Thanksgiving Classic back in late November. It is worth noting that the Tornadoes were missing starters Eli Owens, Eli Graf and several other football players for that contest.

Jahvin Carter

Jahvin Carter (2) looks to drive past West’s Christopher Cowan (0) and Joe Dupree (24). Photo by Brian Hamilton

“One of our key points to being successful was a fast start and a strong finish,” Alcoa coach Ryan Collins mentioned after the game. “I felt like we got off to a fast start and we came out with the right mindset and we came out and did our job defensively.”

West drew first blood in the grudge match, as Kevin Jack scored on a layup to put the Rebels ahead 2-0.

Alcoa would answer, however, with a layup and three-pointer by Jahvin Carter to give the Tornadoes a 5-2 lead. Michigan football commit Eli Owens scored on a layup to make the score 7-2, followed by a steal and layup by Eli Graf and a foul line jumper by Brady Haun, which put Alcoa in front 11-2 midway through the first quarter, as Rebels’ coach Aubin Goporo promptly called timeout.

West’s Devyn Martin would come out of the timeout and score a basket to trim the Alcoa lead to 11-4. The Rebels then went on an 8-0 run, capped by a Maurile Clark layup to make the score 11-10 with 2:42 left in the opening quarter.

Carter would end the Tornadoes’ drought with a layup to extend the Alcoa lead to 13-10, which was followed by a bucket by Owens to push the lead to 15-10.

Alcoa would take a 17-12 lead with just under one minute left in the quarter, but a layup by Martin and a three by Clark would send the game to the second quarter knotted at 17 apiece.

“We can be really good in three minutes and we can be really bad in three minutes and what followed (the 11-0 run), I thought was just complacent,” Collins said. “We quit playing with that sense of urgency and we just got a little bit complacent and what I think it takes, getting into district play, is that you’ve got to be consistent every trip (down the floor) and play with that urgency every trip.”

Maurile Clark

Maurile Clark goes up for a basket during West’s 69-59 home loss to Alcoa on Thursday. Photo by Brian Hamilton

West took its first lead since 2-0 when Garrett Burch nailed a three to open the second period, giving the Rebels a 20-17 advantage.

The West lead would not last for long, however, as Penn State signee Jahvin Carter took control and scored nine consecutive points to put the Tornadoes ahead 26-20 with just over five minutes left in the half.

The Rebels would punch back, however, as Clark nailed a three to trim the deficit to 28-25 with 3:13 remaining. Owens grabbed a steal and converted the layup to extend the Alcoa lead to 30-25.

Alcoa led 32-27 with just over two minutes remaining in the half, but a wide open layup by Jack, followed by a banked three-pointer by Jack Keith would send the Rebels to halftime with a narrow 33-32 deficit.

The third quarter belonged to Alcoa, however, as Carter opened the second half with two consecutive three-pointers to extend the lead to 39-32.

The Tornadoes opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run until Martin answered with an old-fashioned three-point play to cut the West deficit to 41-35.

West would pull to within 43-39 before Alcoa went on an offensive outburst and outscored the Rebels 16-4 the rest of the way. The Tornadoes outscored West 26-11 in the third quarter to take a 59-43 advantage into the final period.

“We jumped all over them coming out of halftime and I don’t think you saw quite the letdown (as the first half),” Collins said. “We’ve been really good in spots and we’ve been really lackadaisical and careless in spots and we need to be the team that can consistently string together stops with some toughness and some rebounding and I thought we did it to close the game (in the second half).

Ryan Collins

Alcoa head coach Ryan Collins draws up a play for his Tornadoes during a timeout. Photo by Brian Hamilton

Just as they did all night, the Rebels would fight back in the fourth quarter. Martin would score on a layup off an Alcoa turnover, followed by a deep Keith three, which capped a 9-2 West run to open the period and trim the score to 61-52.

Jamir Dean would end the hemorrhaging for Alcoa, however, as the freshman was fouled and converted a three-point play to extend the Tornadoes’ lead to 64-52.

Jailon Hill scored a layup to cut the Alcoa lead to 64-55 with just over three minutes left, but the Rebels would never get within single digits again, as the Tornadoes were able to salt the game away from the free throw line, winning 69-59.

Jahvin Carter led all scorers with 32 points, while Eli Owens and Jamir Dean finished with 13 points apiece.

Collins also lamented on the emergence of Dean, a freshman who came off the bench, yet found himself playing with the first team down the stretch of Thursday night’s game.

“I’ve been saying all along that Jamir is a kid that we’re excited about,” said Collins. “Eventually, that excitement has to turn into production and I feel like it kind of clicked for him in (the Beach Bash Classic in Panama City) Florida. He put some really good games together against very good teams, production-wise. He does a great job on the glass on both ends and he’s athletic, gets to the rim well and finishes with either hand in a variety of ways. We’re excited that he’s finding ways to produce.”

West was led by Devyn Martin’s 19 points, while Maurile Clark added 10 for the Rebels.

While Alcoa came away with the win, Collins still has much desired for his team, going forward, if they are going to repeat as Class 2A Champs.

“You go through a long part of our season where we are playing without the football guys and the message is just to be patient and all we’re worried about it getting better — it’s coming. Then you get your whole team out there during the transition period and we are really, really bad, just because it takes time to all come together,” Collins said. “We’re now beyond both of those periods. There’s no more ‘be patient’; there’s no more ‘there’s time to figure it out’; it’s that we’ve got to play with a sense of urgency on both sides of the court.”

Alcoa (10-8) will host Austin-East (10-6) in a tough district matchup on Friday, January 5, while West (9-4) will host Farragut (5-12) on Tuesday, January 9.


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