EVANS -- With six seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Alcovy’s Ajoyous Tuggle drove to the basket and scored to give the Tigers their first lead of the game, 44-43, bringing everyone to their feet as the clock continued to wind.
Looking to clinch their first playoff berth since the 2014-15 season, the Tigers had their hearts ripped out at the buzzer when an Evans three-pointer fell in stunning fashion, eliminating Alcovy from the playoffs with a 46-44 loss in the first round of the Region 3-AAAAAA tournament.
Alcovy head coach Justin Hunter fell to the floor after watching the game-winning shot for the Tigers and was nearly at a loss for words at the conclusion of the game.
“(The lead) was shortly lived,” Hunter said. “That’s just the game of basketball. I’m not disappointed by the effort my girls gave tonight. It wasn’t the way we wanted our season to end, but I’m proud of the girls. They are still champions in my eyes.”
The Tigers trailed the Knights 43-35 with under four minutes remaining in the fourth before Tuggle and company helped lead a late charge.
Alcovy scored the games’ next seven points to cut the deficit to one point with 2:20 left before a long scoreless stretch ensued for both teams.
Both the Tigers and Knights left empty handed on their next four offensive possessions apiece before Tuggle’s layup gave Alcovy a one-point lead in the closing seconds. The senior finished her night with a game-high 24 points.
“She left it out there,” Hunter said of Tuggle’s performance.
Hunter did his best to console his team after the loss and tried to relate it to a valuable life lesson.
“It was a testament of life,” Hunter said. “When things get tough, you have to roll up your sleeves and fight. (My final message) was that I love them and that sometimes the result in a game doesn’t define life. I’m proud of them.”
The Tigers trailed the Knights 17-7 at the end of the first quarter and 23-15 at the break. Alcovy managed to knot the game at 29-all with 2:30 remaining in the third quarter on a Serai Johnson three-pointer, but never held a lead until Tuggle’s final shot of the game.