Alcoa bounces back by downing Central
By Darren Dunlap | (email@example.com)
Alcoa took an early lead against Central on Thursday and never looked back.
The Tornadoes built their lead to finish off the Bobcats, 62-35, in the Renasant Bank Christmas Invitational Tournament at Maryville High School.
Alcoa coach Tony Jones liked what he saw on Thursday. On Wednesday, the first day of the tournament, Alcoa (3-6) took a loss.
“I thought our guys came back spirited after a tough loss against a good Maplewood team (Wednesday night),” said Jones. “We played more cohesive. We had a little more pop on the offensive end. We scored the basketball near the basket.
“I thought Brenden Teeter did a good job of scoring around the basket, and that set a tone for us to have the confidence to knock down some shots that we’ve struggled to knock down the better part of this year.”
Teeter scored 11 points for Alcoa. He was one of two players in double figures scoring for the Tornadoes. The other was Kenny Dean.
“Obviously Kenny Dean was Kenny Dean,” said Jones. “He scored 21 points and he’s averaging about 24, 25 points a game this year for us. He continues to play well.”
Guard Niko White saw plenty of action on the perimeter and continues to grow in that role.
“Niko White is doing a really, really good job of being a floor general,” said Jones. “He’s taking care of the basketball and he’s our defensive perimeter stopper. He’s really going out there, setting the tone defensively that we need to be able to shut teams down.”
Alcoa led 30-18 at the half. Central came out in the third quarter and shrank the lead to single digits behind the scoring of Matt Randolph, who had 10 points, and C.J. Holloway, who had seven points. The Tornadoes tightened down defensively and the Bobcats faded.
“They made a run at us,” said Jones. “We just settled down and we controlled our defensive glass in that segment when they cut it to nine.”
Alcoa pulled away late in the third quarter and continued to pad their lead in the fourth quarter. Jones’ key criticism focused on his team’s defense.
“My only concern was we gave up too many second opportunities, and that enabled them to get 12 second chance points,” he said. “To hold them to 35, and they got 12 second chance points means we could do a better job defensively than we did. But that’s a concern of mine, that we’ve got to do a better job of being physical and more aggressive on our defensive glass.”
Alcoa plays Morristown East at 1:15 p.m. today in the ninth to 12th place semifinal of the Renasant Bank Christmas Invitational.