Siloam Springs' boys basketball team came up short in its late rally against Alma on Tuesday night, but the effort displayed was definitely noticed by the coaching staff.
The Airedales led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter only to see that margin shrink to just two points in the final seconds after Murphy Perkins completed a three-point play to make it 69-67 with 6.2 seconds left.
Alma guard D.J. George's free throws with 5.7 seconds remaining put the final touches on a 71-67 victory for the Airedales in a 5A-West Conference game at Panther Activity Center.
The Panthers did find a moral victory in the loss against one of the top teams in Class 5A.
"The overwhelming positive is that our kids really competed hard for 32 minutes," said Siloam Springs coach Tim Stewart. "I told them afterwards, yes, we didn't shoot good. Yes, it wasn't our best rebounding performance. Yes, we could have caved in and lost by 40 or lost by 30. We're super proud of our kids really fighting down the stretch. A couple of plays here and there and you never know what happens. We're proud of how our guys competed."
The Airedales (11-1, 2-0 5A-West Conference) were money from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, hitting 12 of 15 from the charity stripe and they hit nine 3-pointers on the night.
"We took advantage of some opportunities and made shots," said Alma coach Stan Flenor. "Obviously in the third quarter we were playing pretty well. All of us have been to Siloam before and we know what they're capable of. When you can penetrate and get to the dish and make threes, you can make it up in a hurry. It's one of the things we talked about at halftime. They're going to make a run, and they're going to make a big run. You get caught up in a little bit of that. Give them a lot of credit. They made shots and made plays.
"Our guys, We got the stops when we needed to. We got some key rebounds. We executed in the press. We made some open shots. We go on the road and we got a road victory and that's what we're excited about."
Alma led 15-7 after the first quarter and 39-25 at halftime. The Airedales opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 21-point lead, their largest of the game.
"They were making shots and we weren't," Stewart said of Alma's surge in the third quarter. "We're going to go back and watch the film, but honestly it felt like we were getting really good looks, and we were missing and they were making. They're a good enough team where if we try and pressure them in the full (court), they've got a stable full of guards there that are really savvy. They're a hard team to press and you kind of have to eek your way back in it one possession at a time. We thought in the second half, we went man, we did some trapping, we kind of laid it all out there. Alma did a great job making some plays down the stretch, but we're proud of our kids for giving our team the opportunity to win a tough game where we were down 21."
Siloam Springs (6-7, 1-1) cut the deficit to 56-44 going into the fourth quarter. Evan Sauer knocked down a 3-pointer to open the fourth for the Panthers to cut the lead to 56-47, but Alma's Cejay Mann answered with a trey for a 59-47 lead.
Murphy Perkins and Sauer hit 3-pointers and a layup by Drew Vachon cut the lead to 64-40 with 1:12 left.
Alma's Taelon Peter, Tanner Shelton, Mann and George combined to hit 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to keep Alma in front.
Shelton led Alma with 22 points, while Mann had 14, Peter 13 and George 10.
Vachon had a season-high 21 points for Siloam Springs, while Perkins had 19 and Sauer 14. Thad Wright and Jacob Wakefield each had five points for Siloam Springs, while Jordan Stewart chipped in three.
Alma 71, Siloam Springs 67
Alma 15 24 17 15 -- 71
Siloam Springs 7 18 19 23 -- 67
Alma (11-1, 2-0): Shelton 22, Mann 14, T. Peter 13, George 10, White 5, Winfrey 4, Whalen 3.
Siloam Springs (6-7, 1-1): Vachon 21, Perkins 19, Sauer 14, Wright 5, Wakefield 5, Stewart 3.
Siloam Springs is scheduled to host Greenwood in 5A-West Conference action Tuesday at Panther Activity Center.Sports on 01/13/2019
Print Headline: Airedales hold on for win