ALEXANDRIA — Coming into Saturday night’s contest, the Shenandoah Lady Raiders stood at 8-1 on the season and riding a five game winning streak.
Meanwhile, host Alexandria was 2-7 in a rebuilding season. The signs pointed to a Shenandoah win, but the Lady Tigers had other thoughts. In the end, the Lady Raiders held on for a 54-51 win thanks to four key free throws by freshman Macee Rudy.
“Great performance by Alex tonight,” Shenandoah coach Chelsea Kilian said afterward. “They shot the ball extremely well and found gaps in our zone, but our kids hit some free throws down the stretch and answered our challenges to gut one out.”
Alexandria started the game well, leading 4-2 in the first quarter. But 5-foot-11 junior Rachel Krathwohl scored nine of her 15 points to give the Lady Raiders a 17-6 lead at the end of the first.
Alex got to within six points midway through the second but Shenandoah held a 28-21 halftime lead. The Lady Tigers were able to take advantage of some ragged play by Shenandoah early in the third to get back into the game.
Kelsey Crisp scored early in the third to cut the lead to 30-25 and Kilian called timeout. Back to back baskets by Crisp and Desirae Litchfield cut the deficit to one with four minutes left. Alexandria continued the run, eventually taking a 39-34 lead on two Litchfield free throws with 21 seconds left in the third.
“We got in foul trouble, we had three starters on the bench with two fouls each,” Kilian said. “It hurt our flow a little bit and we really had problems getting back into rhythm.” The Lady Raiders trailed 43-37 with six minutes left in the game when they started a 10-0 run to lead 47-43.
Alexandria coach Tina Bolte called timeout as the game seemed to be slipping away. But the Lady Tigers responded to the challenge and tied the game at 47 with 2:45 to go on a basket by Taylor Jones.