Alexander girls hold off Marietta, 62-44

MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times Marietta’s Torrance Nonnenmacher makes a pass during a high school girls basketball game against Alexander Wednesday at Sutton Gymnasium. Alexander won, 62-44.

For the second time this season, Alexander’s junior class was just too much for a very young Marietta Lady Tiger squad.

Lady Spartan juniors Rachel Richardson and McKena Rice combined for 43 points as Alexander notched a 62-44 win over the Lady Tigers Wednesday evening at Sutton Gymnasium.

Richardson tossed in a game-high 27 points while also dishing out five assists and yanking down six rebounds as Alexander won for the seventh time in eight decisions on the season.

The results were very similar to the season opener for both teams in Alexander which saw the Spartans score a 60-43 win over the Tigers.

Despite the similar scores, first year Tiger head coach Allen Ruth felt his team gave Alexander a much better effort Wednesday evening then they did back in November.

“If we can just learn to put four quarters together I think we are going to start beating some people,” said Ruth, whose team trailed by just nine points late in the third quarter. “I was proud of our effort.”

Alexander rode the hot hand of Richardson throughout the first half as she tossed in 17 points in the opening half, including four from behind the arc to stake the Lady Spartans to a 33-20 halftime lead.

Ruth knew before hand what a challenge his team would have in trying to stop Richardson.

“On the scouting report it says that number 15 (Richardson) is their best player and I coached her in the summer as well so I knew what kind of player she is,” said Ruth. “You just can’t let the best player on the floor have 27 points.”

While Richardson was potent for long range for Alexander, so was Tiger freshman Morgan Altenburger, who matched Richardson with four triples in the game including a pair in the opening minutes of the second half when the orange and black trimmed the lead to as few as eight points.

Alexander answered the early Tiger run and pulled out to a 14-point lead with three minutes to play in the third quarter before MHS made one last run.

A free throw by Tiger senior Torrance Nonnenmacher and a pair by Adi Hill proceeded a rebound put-back bucket by Hannah Kroft to once again cut the Alexander lead to single digits at 45-36.

A pair of free throws by Alexander freshman Jadyn Mace pushed the lead back to 11 before Tiger senior Caleigh Doan drove the base line and finished.

Rice’s bucket in the closing seconds of the third on an assist from Richardson gave the Spartans a 49-38 lead heading to the final quarter.

Baskets by Mallory Rankin and Abby Howard pushed the lead to 15 and after Altenburger answered with a deuce and a free throw, the Lady Spartans canned six free throws in a row to push the lead to 18 with just two minutes to play.

Alexander was a perfect 13-for-13 from the charity stripe including nine-for-nine for Richardson.

In addition to Richardson’s 27, Alexander got 16 points and a game-high 12 boards from Rice as well as 11 points, five rebounds and five assists from Mace.

Marietta was led by Altenburger’s 19 points while Kroft added 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

“Morgan (Altenburger) shot the ball very well and I thought Hannah (Kroft) played really well as well,” said Ruth. “I saw a lot of fight out of them….we are getting there.”

While the results aren’t what Ruth and his team are looking for, he can see the light at the wend of the tunnel for his young team.

“Our young girls have a little experience now and they are starting to get into the groove of playing varsity basketball,” said Ruth,whose Lady Tigers slipped to 2-7 with the loss. “My old coach Jeff Mennillo used to say you are either green and growing or you are ripe and rotten.”

Marietta will take on Meigs Saturday morning at 11:15 a.m. at Ban Johnson Arena in the Ohio River Classic.