BY JOSH WEIR
Repository sports writer
LOUISVILLE If there were any questions about the toughness and resiliency of the Alliance High School boys basketball team, they were answered this weekend.
A night after rallying from a 21-point third-quarter deficit to win in overtime at Carrollton, the Aviators — minus their best player — went to Louisville’s gym Saturday and won 62-59 to stay undefeated in NBC play.
Kordelle Phillips went for 19 points, five rebounds and four steals. Fellow senior guard Dale Dickson added 17 points as the Aviators
(8-1, 6-0) kept a hold of first place despite missing senior JJ Kukura, who was serving the first of a two-game suspension for being ejected from Friday night’s game.
“Unbelievable guts and fortitude,” Alliance head coach Larry Kukura said. “Never-say-die spirit amongst the team. We had a lot of adversity the last two days. ...
“We just really came together this weekend. We became one as a team, and we haven’t been. We’ve been winning, but we haven’t had that special feeling.”
A Jake Adams 3-pointer and two free throws from Drew Noble — sandwiched around the Aviators missing a pair of free throws — had the Leopards down just 61-59 in the final minute.
Alliance followed with turnovers on consecutive possessions.
However, the Leopards matched them with turnovers and never got a shot off.
“Just a great defensive effort there at the end,” Larry Kukura said. “Two big possessions there. Just gutted one out.”
When the Leopards got the ball in the paint, they scored.
Noble, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, scored 24 points to go with 13 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. Blake Hoover, a 6-6 junior, added 11 points.
The problem was getting it there. Alliance harrassed Louisville’s young back court defensively and forced the Leopards into 20 turnovers. Louisville had trouble even getting the ball inbounded against Alliance’s full-court press, let alone break it for buckets on the other end.
“We wanted to get ball pressure as much as we could on them and make them dribble,” Phillips said. “We knew their big men were, well, big. So we wanted to keep the ball out of their hands.”
Parrish Martin hit eight 3-pointers and scored 26 points in Alliance’s win Friday. With Louisville face-guarding him all game Saturday, the senior guard stayed patient and played a solid floor game. He scored nine points and helped the Aviators milk clock in the fourth quarter with his ball-handling.
“I give their team credit,” Louisville head coach Tom Siegfried said. “They stepped up with JJ out. I thought Kordelle and Parrish played like seniors tonight. Dale Dickson, too.”
Alliance turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter and turned a 16-11 deficit after one quarter into a 27-26 halftime lead. Phillips scored 10 points in the quarter.
After backing off the pressure and seeing Louisville build a 37-31 lead in the third quarter, the Aviators ratcheted up the pressure again and soon the game was tied.
A 45-42 Alliance lead after three quarters grew to as much as 55-47 in the fourth before Louisville rallied.
The Leopards (7-4, 4-2) entered this weekend undefeated in the league. After Friday’s loss at Marlington and Saturday’s defeat, they look to regroup.
“I think it was a tough weekend, but at that same time, I’m hoping it’s a really good learning weekend for us,” Siegfried said. “... It’s something a lot of these guys haven’t seen at the varsity level.”
Reach Josh at 330-580-8426 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @jweirREP
Alliance 62, Louisville 59
ALLIANCE (8-1, 6-0) Dickson 5 4-6 17, Martin 3 2-3 9, Phillips 6 4-8 19, Brackett 1 3-4 5, Hammerton 1 0-0 2, Blue 0 2-2 2, A.Willliams 1 1-4 4, M.Williams 2 0-0 4. Totals 19-47 16-25 62.
LOUISVILLE (7-4, 4-2) Mathie 4 1-1 9, Noble 9 6-7 24, Pukys 3 0-0 9, Adams 2 0-0 6, Hoover 3 5-7 11. Totals 21-37 12-15 59.
Alliance 11 16 18 17 — 62
Louisville 16 10 16 17 — 59
3-point goals—Dickson 3, Phillips 3, Pukys 3, Adams 2, Martin, A.Williams. Fouls—Louisville 21-14. Technical fouls—Noble. Rebounds—Alliance 20 (Brackett 8), Louisville 22 (Noble 13).