Sterling advances to tourney semifinal round
STERLING – A layup by senior Hayden Taliaferro with 16 seconds left propelled the Sterling Tigers to a 64-62 win over Alex last Friday.
The two-point win was the first time this season Sterling has won a game decided by three points or fewer. Until last Friday, Sterling had lost two games by one point and dropped another by three points.
“We finally won a close one,” Sterling head coach Trent Parrish said. “It was an out-of-bounds play to Hayden, and he scored the layup. It worked out for us this time.”
Alex stayed in the game by downing 12 three-point shots.
“They’re well coached, made the right reads and hit their shots” Parrish said.
Sterling jumped out to a 22-9 first quarter lead but a scrappy Alex squad bounced back in the second quarter with a 27-point performance to lead by one at halftime, 36-35. Alex increased its lead to 51-47 by the end of the third quarter, but a strong Sterling effort in the fourth quarter pushed the Tigers to their second win in a row. Sterling outscored Alex in the final eight minutes 17-11.
Taliaferro led Sterling in scoring with 22 points followed by Nate Anderson with 17.
Sterling 63, Fletcher 27
The Tigers improved their season mark to 12-7 with a 63-27 win over Fletcher in the first round of the Comanche County Tournament on Tuesday.
Sterling led 33-22 at halftime as Fletcher battled a stronger Tiger team who “were lethargic” in the first half, Parrish said.
“I think we only allowed five points in the second half. We just had to get in the right frame of mind,” he said.
Fletcher scored two baskets in the third quarter and a single free throw in the fourth while Sterling tallied 24 points in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. Sterling defeated Fletcher 54-25 earlier in the season.
Sterling was led in scoring by Taliaferro with 22 points followed by Max Puccio with 17 and Anderson with 10.
Sterling will play Walters in the tournament’s semifinal round 8:30 p.m. Friday. The tournament is being held at the Coliseum on the Comanche County Fairgrounds. A win would put Sterling in the championship game 6 p.m. Saturday.