By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
GOOD HOPE —
Mitch Morris was none too pleased following his team’s lackluster performance against Class 6A Albertville in the Albertville Citivans Christmas Classic last Friday night.
While the effort improved the next day against Pinson Valley, the Broncos blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead to drop back-to-back games for the first time this season.
That was so last year, though.
Holly Pond was back to its dominant ways on Friday, however, getting big-time production from its three-headed monster — Austin Smith, Colby Adams and Gunter Morris — to come away with a solid 71-51 win over Good Hope.
“First quarter, we were a little sluggish,” coach Morris said. “But the second quarter was really good. We played the way we wanted to play
then. The guys played well. We were able to get all our players plenty of playing time, too. That’ll help us later on.”
The county teams fought tooth-and-nail throughout the first quarter, with the Broncos holding a slim 15-14 lead heading into the second stanza.
Then, it got ugly.
Holly Pond (13-5) outscored Good Hope 29-7 in the frame, forcing numerous Raider turnovers — most of which lead directly to easy baskets for the road team — to race away with a 44-21 halftime advantage.
Adams scored 20 points, while Morris (19) and Smith (14) each contributed to the cause as well.
“Those three played well,” coach Morris said. “If one of them ever has an off game, the other two usually pick him up. I’d still like to see our 3-point shooting improve a little bit, though.”
Dauriel Harwood collected nine points in the win; Cody Jones, five; and Josh Horton and Chase Allbright, two each.
The 3A, No. 2 Broncos will look to build some momentum against New Hope and West Point before heading into the ever-important county tournament in a couple of weeks.
“We are looking to get better every game,” coach Morris said.
Andy Cofer paced Good Hope with 24 points in the loss, while Eli Marty notched 11 of his own.
% Cullman 79, Muscle Shoals 61: Lane Donaldson decided he was tired of close games.
And boy, did he do something about it on Friday night.
The sharp-shooting senior drained six straight treys in the fourth quarter to turn what had been a 51-49 lead into a laugher over the 5A Trojans.
“Lane absolutely went Ray Allen in the fourth quarter,” coach Bobby Meyer said following the game.
The Bearcats improved to 11-6 on the season with the win.
Seth Swalve led all scorers 21 points, while Donaldson’s six 3’s left him with 18.
Other Bearcat contributors included Lawson Schaffer, 13 points; Auston Neal, 10; Chase Slocumb, seven; and Keaton Dean, four.Austin Beck also took a "big charge" during Donaldson's tear.
% Holly Pond 54, Good Hope 21: New year, same results.
The Class 3A No. 4 Broncos netted the first 20 points of the contest, received scoring contributions from seven players and moved to 17-2 on the season with a runaway victory over the Raiders on Friday night.
Natasha Holcombe and Rachel Finley led the Green and White in scoring with 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Holcombe contributed four blocks and Finley, several rebounds in the win.
Good Hope cut the deficit to 13 at halftime but couldn’t get any closer, as Holly Pond outscored its county rival 20-6 in the third frame to alleviate any doubt of a victory.
Other Bronco contributors included Meg Gambrill, six points; Melissa Clingman, four, Abby Gambrill, three; and Taylor Rowell and Kristin Sparks, two apiece.
The Raiders (12-6) were paced by Kayla Scott’s nine points. Kacy Thomas was next in line with four.
Scott Adams’s squad will take the week off before hosting New Hope in a crucial area game next Friday. Meanwhile, Good Hope will be back in action against Cold Springs on Tuesday.
% Cold Springs 78, Sulligent 43: Caitlyn Hall scored all of her game-high 23 points in the first half as the Eagles hammered their area foe at home on Friday night.
The No. 4 team in 2A got off to a hot start, grabbing a 29-6 first-quarter cushion before heading into halftime with a salty 55-16 advantage.
Cold Springs (14-5) received double-digit scoring from Haley Freeman (14 points) and Emme Willoughby (12) in the victory.
Other Blue and Gold contribitors included McKinnley Davis, eight points; Chloe Harbison and Camryn Crider, seven; Keegan Johnson, five; and Rilee White, two.
% Cullman 51, Muscle Shoals 47: The Bearcats used a huge third quarter to pull away from — and stay ahead of — the Trojans on Friday night.
Trailing by one at the half, Cullman outscored Muscle Shoals 16-7 in the third — thanks to Baylee Johnson’s 10 points — to grab an eight-point advantage heading into the final stanza.
“I’m proud of the girls for being able to make some halftime adjustments and come out with a win against a good Muscle Shoals team,” said Bearcat coach Jonathan Hayes, whose team moved to 11-6 with the win. “We got the lead and never gave it back up.”
Johnson finished the contest with 24 points, while Oakleigh White (eight points), Hayden Short (six) and Christina Skinner (four) all contributed to the Black and Gold’s win.
Cullman will host Hartselle on Tuesday. The Lady Bearcats have bested their arch-rival twice already this season.
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at email@example.com.