By Larry Oliver
ALEXANDRIA, IN – Trailing by double figures, the Lady Tigers used defense and intensity in the second half to fuel their comeback as Alexandria just outworked Wapahani on their way to a 51-45 upset of the visiting Raiders. The victory was Alexandria’s first win of the season.
Senior Peyton Quinn spent most of the game in foul trouble, but the standout guard made the most of her return by scoring 11 of her game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter. “She got a lot of time sitting on the bench beside us and listening,” said Alexandria Coach Tina Bolte. “All she heard was, ‘We need a spark, we need some energy.’ When you’re sitting right by the coaches, you get a little understanding of what’s needed.”
Quinn would not have gotten the opportunity late in the game if it was not for the tenacious defense applied by the Lady Tigers that began in the third quarter. That defensive pressure was led by sophomore Morgan Oliver who used good technique to draw two offensive fouls on the Raiders during back-to-back possessions, as well as senior Carlee Wihebrink who managed to get a third offensive foul on the visitors, all in the third quarter. Wapahani managed to hit just 3-of-19 shots in the second half as well as committing 18 turnovers.
“It was huge,” Bolte said. “Defense was the only reason we were behind in the first half. We took three charges in a row, and it’s just momentum. Right then, we needed something to give us momentum.”
With Peyton Quinn on the bench for most of the third quarter with foul trouble, and fellow senior Shanna Kelly in the locker room with an illness during that same span, Alex did not have most of their offensive threats so it had to rely on that defense to keep them in the game.
“We battled, and that is it,” Bolte said. “I have been hearing that Wapahani is a tough team and they get physical with people, and before the game I told the girls ‘We are not matching that. They need to match us. We need to step up first.’ That’s not they way it started, but in the second half we were the aggressor and the girls didn’t let up. Defense was the only reason we were behind in the first half, and then to come out like that and get three charges in the third quarter. Morgan (Oliver) took back-to-back charges, and that is just momentum. Right then we needed something defensively to give us the momentum.”
Coming up big for Alexandria offensively was Kelly with 12 points and junior Courtney Skinner with 11. Wapahani was balanced throughout the team, but no player finished in double figures. Both teams were whistled for 26 fouls each, so there was definitely balanced officiating.
“Our balance on offense was better than it has been so far this season,” added Bolte. “But I still don’t think we have hit all cylinders yet.”
Alexandria (1-3, 0-0 in CIC) will be in action Nov. 30th when they travel to Frankton.