- Cullman, Alabama

February 7, 2013

PREP BASKETBALL: Holly Pond hammers J.B. Pennington to reach area championship game

By Brian Lacy

HOLLY POND — In any category that can be measured, the Holly Pond varsity girls were simply too much for J.B. Pennington.

Taylor Terry, Meg Gambrill and Rachel Finley combined to score 52 points, as the No. 7 Lady Broncos overwhelmed the Lions 76-24 on Thursday night, setting up a Class 3A, Area 12 championship game Monday against Brindlee Mountain.

On offense, Holly Pond displayed crisp ball movement, hot shooting and tremendous hustle, grabbing numerous offensive rebounds for second-chance points. On defense, they harassed Pennington, forcing steals, bad passes and hurried shots.

Bronco coach Scott Adams said he liked the energy his team displayed throughout the game.

“If you are going to advance, you need to come with a lot of energy and play with a lot of purpose,” he said. “You’ve got to play with a sense of urgency, and I thought our girls did that. We started out the game playing really hard and getting after it. Then we had a little lull, and I got a little upset about that, but we responded very well in the third and fourth quarters.”

Terry led the Lady Broncos with 21 points, scoring 14 in the first half as her team built a 41-12 halftime lead. She added seven points in the first four minutes of the third quarter in which Holly Pond outscored Pennington 25-0.

Gambrill and Finley got the offense on track early, each hitting 3-pointers less than two minutes into the game, as the Broncos took a quick 9-0 lead.

Gambrill scored 13 of her 18 points in the first quarter, including three baskets in a row as part of a 17-0 run by Holly Pond to finish the quarter with a 26-4 lead.

Finley, who finished with 13 points, put the finishing touches on a dominant third quarter. She scored 10 points in the final 3:22 of the period, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the last 30 seconds of the frame.

Pennington had more than 30 turnovers through the first three quarters as a result of steals or pressure defense causing bad passes.

“We count deflections on our stats. We call them hustle points,” Adams said. “We want our hands active because steals come from deflections, and if we get our hands active, good things are going to happen. We did a good job tonight of making steals and then we got out and ran and converted them into points.”

Holly Pond defeated Brindlee Mountain in both regular season meetings, but Adams said his team will be ready for a challenge Monday at 6 p.m.

“They have improved a lot throughout the season,” Adams said of the Lions. “They play very physical and very hard. We are going to come out and be ready to play. If we don’t bring our ‘A’ game, then they are going to beat us.”