By Justin Haddix For The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ALEXANDRIA — Alexandria honored its three seniors Friday night before the Tigers regular-season finale against the Wes-Del Warriors, but it was junior Braden Warren who made the game-deciding shot midway through a action-packed fourth quarter.
The Tigers (10-11) escaped with a 62-59 win over the Warriors.
“(Wes-Del) is a great team,” Alexandria coach Kyle Bloom said. “Any win is good going into sectional. Winning five out of six is good momentum for us.”
With 3:45 to play in fourth quarter, Wes-Del (7-13) held a slim one-point lead when Warren corralled the offensive rebound after a Blaize Kelly missed jumper. The 6-foot-2 guard promptly fired the ball back up and the Tigers led 46-45.
“We just had to battle,” Warren said. “I was looking for a shooter, Layton (Carroll). But then I saw it was wide open so I had to go up with my left hand.”
That bucket started a 9-0 run by Alexandria, as it stretched its lead to 53-45 with 2 ½ minutes to play in regulation.
But Wes-Del did not roll over as the Warriors battled back to pull within three points on an old-fashion three-point play by senior Justin Evans on a foul by Jonah Jerrils.
Just as the momentum seemed to swing in Wes-Del’s favor, Alexandria would answer by going 5-of-8 from the free-throw line in the closing minute.
The teams combined for 50 points in the final quarter, Alexandria held the advantage 27-23.
Carroll and fellow senior Drew Johnson led the way for the Tigers by scoring 17 points apiece. Warren finished with 13, 10 coming in the second half.
Kolby Haas, the third senior for Alexandria didn’t break into the box score, but his coach had high praises for him and his fellow upperclassmen.
“Those three guys win every sprint we run,” Bloom said. “They battle in every drill we do, and you can’t replace that stuff. For those guys to win on (senior night) is a great thing.”
The finish was a flurry, but the beginning was sluggish for Alexandria. The Tigers tallied just four points in the opening frame and their foes put up 10. The lone Alexandria field goal came at 3:36 on a Drew Johnson jumper.
“They ran a great offense that we did not do a very good job with their reads,” Bloom said. “They got a lot of open shots, and when you get open shots you can score a lot.”
Alexandria then erupted to outscore Wes-Del in the second quarter 19-9, and held a 23-19 lead at the half.
“I was a great win for us,” Warren said. “It was a battle.”