HANCEVILLE – Wallace State’s basketball teams made sure Snead State didn’t ruin their perfect starts in conference play Monday night, sweeping the Parsons during homecoming at Tom Drake Coliseum.
Haven Albright poured in a career-high 21 points off the bench, Jasmine Coleman recorded her sixth double-double of the season and the Wallace State women routed Snead State 63-39 in Monday’s opener, winning their 16th game in 17 tries.
In the second game, Wallace State’s men (19-4, 5-0 Alabama Community College Conference) held off a strong Snead State run in the closing seconds, holding on for a 73-70 victory and extending the team’s winning streak to 12 games.
Albright and Coleman helped the Lady Lions (20-3, 4-0 ACCC) capture their 20th win of the season in the first game. Albright, who entered averaging less than six points per game, exploded against the Lady Parsons, nailing three 3-pointers en route to her standout performance. She also had five rebounds.
“That game from Haven comes from her gaining confidence off the bench in November and December,” said Wallace State coach Ron Burdette, whose team also remained a perfect 11-0 at home and pushed its winning streak to six. “She has a lot of confidence on the floor, and I have a lot of confidence in her during crunch time because I know what I’m going to get.”
Coleman, a sophomore from Decatur, Ga., added to her double-double count for the season, scoring 12 points and collecting 13 rebounds. She also added five steals.
Both teams traded leads in the opening four minutes before Wallace State grabbed control for good. Morgan Smith drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the 15:32 mark for the Lady Lions, reclaiming an early 8-7 lead.
Wallace State then used a 16-7 run to grab a 24-14 lead with 3:58 left before the half. Snead State cut the deficit to 24-18 with 3:18 remaining before intermission, but the Lady Lions responded with another strong run before halftime.
Wallace State’s Jaylan Snowden connected on a jumper as time expired, giving the Lady Lions a 33-21 advantage at the half.
The Lady Lions poured it on from there, orchestrating a 24-7 surge over the opening 10 minutes of the second half for a 57-28 lead.
“We started off slow, but got things together in the second half. We almost started the game too comfortable because we knew Snead State had some injury issues and people banged up. We had a discussion at the half, and I thought we played our game in the second half. We were able to get some steals and easy baskets,” said Burdette, whose team finished with 13 steals.
Smith finished with six points, four rebounds and four assists for the Lady Lions, while Snowden added five points.
Monica Cooper led Snead State (6-15, 2-2 ACCC) with eight points and Larian Scott finished with seven off the bench.
Wallace State’s women travel to Chattanooga (Tenn.) State for a non-conference game.
Wallace State men 73, Snead State 70
The Lions had to earn their 12th win in a row Monday night, holding off a late Snead State charge with one final defensive stand.
After Wallace State’s Marcus Johnson hit the front end of a pair of free throws for a 73-70 lead with 13.4 seconds left, Snead State had one final chance to send the game to overtime. The Parsons called a timeout with 4.7 seconds remaining to set up the final play.
Wallace State’s defense hunkered down during the final possession, prohibiting Snead State from even attempting a 3-point shot. The inbound pass was tipped around and Wallace State’s Marcus Burwell made sure he knocked it out of reach of a Snead State player as time expired, preserving the win and the winning streak for the Lions.
“I’m never going to condone us giving up a lead and our guys putting us in a position like that, but I was glad Marcus (Johnson) stepped up and made a free throw when he was called upon, forcing them to hit a 3-pointer,” said Wallace State coach John Meeks. “I was also proud of how we stepped up on that last possession. We talked about what Snead was going to try to do, (Marcus) Burwell got in there and distracted their rotation and we did a great job of clogging it up where Snead State couldn’t get a shot off.”
Wallace State led by as many as 20 points in the second half and enjoyed a 61-43 cushion with 10:32 remaining after Jestin Lewis and Johnson combined for seven straight points.
Snead State didn’t go away, thanks in large part to 16 second-half points from Duke Thomas, and the Parsons trimmed the game to a one-possession affair in the final seconds. Snead State’s Demarcus Threatt cut his team’s deficit to 72-70 with 20 seconds left.
Wallace State had the ultimate blow though, getting the free throw from Johnson and a strong defensive play.
Meeks felt Monday’s game was a preview of what the Lions can expect down the stretch as the first-place team in the ACCC North Division.
“We know Snead State well and we played to them in the second half. We completely let up and it gave them a chance to win,” Meeks said. “Our guys have to understand they are the target right now. Everyone wants to beat you and take you out. We control our own destiny at this point, but the road it tough. We play a lot of road games down the stretch, so it’s going to be tough. We’ve got to step up and be road warriors.”
Wallace State had five players finish with double figures in one of its more balanced scoring attacks of the season. Johnson led the way with 13 points, Lee Moore scored 12, Cody Farley scored eight of his 11 points in the first half and Burwell and Lewis each chipped in with 10.
Threatt led Snead State (5-16, 1-4 ACCC) in the loss with 23 points, Thomas had 18 and Chad Watkins finished with 11.
Wallace State’s men continue conference play at Marion Military on Thursday.