By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
HOLLY POND —
Colby Adams knew Friday night’s sub-regional matchup with Geraldine was going to be a dogfight.
The junior guard was up for the challenge, though, scoring 21 points in Holly Pond’s 72-64 victory over the Bulldogs, advancing his team to regional play at Jacksonville State University.
“Emotions were riding high when the game started,” he said. “We wanted this more than anything else.”
Adams certainly did his part early on, scoring 13 first-half points, but the Bulldogs weren’t deterred as the game was tied at 36 apiece heading into halftime.
“We knew heading into tonight’s game that they were a really good team,” Adams added. “They played hard all night.”
Trailing by four late in the third quarter, the Broncos (24-5) closed the frame on a 10-3 run, capsulated by a Carter Hayes 3-pointer and an Adams’ steal and layup to take a three-point lead heading into the game’s final eight minutes.
Coach Mitch Morris said his team had multiple opportunities to pull away in the contest.
“Every time we stretched it out and tried to pull away, they answered,” he said. “Thankfully, we made our free throws down the stretch.”
Holly Pond led 63-60 with under two minutes remaining, but Geraldine tied the game on a long 3-pointer on its next possession.
It was the last lead the Bulldogs saw, however, as the Broncos’ Gunter Morris made a basket on the other end and Jacob Cahoon took a charge on the ensuing Bulldogs’ possession to steal away all the momentum.
Blake Black and Adams added five free throws late to seal the deal for Holly Pond.
“Coach preached team basketball all week,” Adams said. “He wanted everyone to contribute, whether it was to play good defense or make a shot. I think we played good team basketball tonight.”
Morris contributed 17 points before fouling out, while Austin Smith was good for 12. Cahoon and Hays each added nine.
“This was a good, hard-fought game,” Morris said. “I certainly think the fans got their money’s worth tonight.”
Adams was also quick to thank the fans for their support.
“I think our crowd made a huge difference tonight,” he said. “Home-court advantage really helped us out these past few games.”
Holly Pond’s next contest will come against the winner of Glencoe and Weaver in a regional matchup next Thursday at JSU. The game will tipoff at 10:30 a.m.
% Holly Pond 67, Geraldine 39: The Lady Broncos continued their recent run of dominance, hammering the Lady Bulldogs by 28 points to secure their spot in next week’s regionals at JSU.
No. 7 Holly Pond (26-5) led at the quarter breaks 18-7, 28-11 and 52-28.
“I thought we played well,” coach Scott Adams said. “We came out focused and shared the ball as a team really well.”
Four players scored in double figures for the Broncos, with Taylor Terry leading all scorers with 18 points.
Holly Pond hit 10 threes throughout the game as well, including three apiece by Meg Gambrill and Natasha Holcombe.
“We definitely hit some 3-pointers tonight,” Adams added. “But we missed some easy shots around the basket as well, and that’s a little frustrating.”
The lopsided result was well in hand by the fourth quarter, but that didn’t stop Adams from showing his emotions.
Known at times for his bench explosions, the coach had a different reason to crank out a fist pump late, as senior Lexy Malone hit a 3-pointer as time expired, netting her first points since her ACL injury back in December.
“I was very pleased to see that,” Adams said. “We love her so much and for her to be able to get that feeling of the crowd cheering for her one more time was just special.”
Holly Pond will take on 26-6 Piedmont next Thursday at 9 a.m. in Jacksonville. Adams said he knows his team has a big challenge awaiting them.
“I saw them play last night and they are very good and very quick,” he said. “I’m very confident in my team, though. We are just going to have to go out there and lay it all on the line.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at email@example.com.