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November 16, 2013

PREP BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Holly Pond, West Point, Good Hope earn Friday-night sweeps

HOLLY POND — The Holly Pond basketball program picked up right where it left off in February, opening the 2013-14 campaign Friday night with a hard-earned sweep of county-rival Cold Springs.

The Lady Broncos, last season’s Class 3A state runners-up, battled past the sharp-shooting Eagles 59-52, while the boys, fresh off a state semifinal appearance, cruised to a 69-37 victory.

If someone would’ve told Scott Adams Meg Gambrill would only score two points, Taylor Rowell would foul out and his Green and White girls would still win, the defending 3A Coach of the Year wouldn’t have believed it. That’s the way events unfolded in Friday’s season opener, though, making for a marquee matchup that came down to the bitter end.

Cold Springs (1-1) came out hot to stake a 15-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter, but Holly Pond (1-0) bounced back to head into halftime up 27-26. It was back and forth the rest of the way with the Broncos leading 43-40 after three and holding on to end up on top.

Natasha Holcombe finished with a game-high 19 points, 10 of which came at a crucial time in the third quarter. The senior nailed three 3-pointers and went 6 of 9 at the free-throw line, where her Holly Pond squad shot 16 of 27 overall. The Eagles made seven of their 13 attempts at the charity stripe.

Rachel Finley also reached double digits for the Broncos with 14 points.

“Those two seniors really stepped up,” Adams said of Holcombe and Finley.

All nine of Abby Gambrill’s points came in the second half, including six on a back-to-back 3-pointer and three-point play in the fourth quarter that quickly got the Green and White out of a hole and put them in the driver’s seat.

Holly Pond’s other scorers were Rowell, eight points; Kaitlyn Stephens, four; Melissa Clingman, three; and Gambrill, two.

Bailey West knocked down five of Cold Springs’ 11 3-pointers on her way to a 17-point performance. Chloe Harbison and Haley Freeman both helped out with 11 points.

The Eagles’ other contributors were Emme Willoughby, six points; McKinnley Davis, three; and Keegan Johnson and Caitlyn Hall, two apiece.

“You always know what kind of game it’s going to be against Cold Springs,” Adams said. “They’re a really good basketball team, and they can really shoot, so I’m really proud of the way the girls battled through some adversity.”

The boys game was much less dramatic thanks to a balanced effort by Holly Pond’s talented trio of Austin Smith (21 points), Colby Adams (16) and Gunter Morris (12).

The Broncos clung to a 18-14 lead after the first frame but used a stingy defense and lights-out shooting from Adams and Smith to extend their cushion to 41-22 at the break.

Triston Chambers paced Cold Springs (1-1) with 26 points. Layne Rice had nine.

Holly Pond will head to West Point next Tuesday, while Cold Springs will host Good Hope.

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