By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
After a crushing one-point loss to Athens on Friday night, Holly Pond was looking for a comfortable win against Hartselle on Saturday.
The Broncos got the win, but it was far from comfortable.
No. 6 Holly Pond forced a couple of turnovers, made a couple of free throws and ultimately held on to defeat the Tigers by a final score of 43-40 to take home third place in the Yule Tide Classic.
Coach Scott Adams was, despite the win, far from happy.
"I'm not at all pleased with how we played, but I'll take the win," he said. "We are really missing Lexy's aggressiveness and rebounding right now."
Adams, of course, was talking about senior Lexy Malone, whom the Broncos lost on Thursday to a season-ending ACL/MCL injury.
"We really need people to step up, because right now, we are nowhere near where we should be on offense," Adams added.
The Broncos found themselves exchanging baskets with Hartselle most of the first half until a 10-2 run gave them a 25-17 heading into halftime.
The Tigers came out the aggressor in the second half, however, quickly erasing Holly Pond’s lead and tying the score at 31-31 heading into the final quarter.
Down three late in the fourth, the Broncos' patented full-court press started to take its toll, as they forced four Hartselle turnovers in as many possessions to take a three-point lead with under 30 seconds left to play.
"The press hadn't worked the whole game," Adams said. "That's what's frustrating. I'm proud that the girls stepped up and made plays, but I'd like to see it earlier in the game."
It wasn't all bad for the Broncos, though, as senior Taylor Terry broke the career 1,000-point mark at Holly Pond.
Terry's 12 points gives her 1,007 total for her career.
"Really proud of Taylor," Adams said. "Not many in our school get to that point. She's hard-working and one of our best leaders out there."
Natasha Holcombe was the leading scorer with 13 points, while teammates Rachel Finley and Taylor Rowell added nine and seven points, respectively.
Holly Pond finished the tournament with a 2-1 record and improved its overall mark to 15-3.
The Broncos will travel to West Point next Friday for an in-county matchup.
% Cullman 48, Gardendale 34: The Bearcats concluded tourney play in style with a win over the Rockets.
Both teams started out the game shaky on offense, with Cullman taking a small 20-18 advantage heading into halftime.
The Bearcat D rose up in the second half, however, allowing offensive stalwarts Baylee Johnson and Morgan Smith to carry the torch on the other end.
Smith set the pace with 17 points, while Johnson contributed 16.
Other Cullman contributors included Blair Nall with nine and Hayden Short with two.
The win moves the Bearcats’ record to 9-6 overall.
Cullman will take the floor again on Jan. 3 at home against Muscle Shoals.
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at email@example.com.