By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
HOLLY POND —
Holly Pond’s basketball players have taken on sort of a rock-star status since returning to school this week with matching Class 3A Northeast Regional Tournament titles and berths to the Final 48.
The Broncos’ girls will take on No. 9 Straughn today at 3 p.m., while the boys will face Southside-Selma immediately after at approximately 4:30 p.m. Both state semifinals will be played at the BJCC.
“It’s very exciting for us. We just feel so proud walking through the hallways,” senior girls’ leader Taylor Terry said. “Everyone’s telling you good job and supporting us. We know we have the support of our whole school with us.”
Colby Adams’ experience at school on Monday was extremely similar. After noticing all the buzz and excitement related to the squads’ advancement throughout the school day, though, the junior guard was right back in the gym during seventh period, already preparing for the task at hand.
“Of course coming back for a little bit, you want to celebrate and everything, but it’s hard to get back and focused right away,” Adams said. “It’s fun to make it to Birmingham, but it’s even more fun to try and get a win.”
Boys’ coach Mitch Morris said the hype surrounding Holly Pond’s basketball programs kept him entertained all weekend. Whether he was at church on Sunday or just calling around to organize travel accommodations for the trip, all anyone wanted to talk about was Bronco basketball.
Morris admitted he’s been somewhat helter skelter while trying to get everything ready to go, but he said his players haven’t seemed to let the impending tournament on the state’s biggest stage get to their heads.
“I think our boys have been pretty cool about it, and I hope they keep a level head,” the coach said. “It’s been a lot of fun, though. There’ve been a lot of people coming and asking about it.”
Coach Scott Adams said his Holly Pond girls, which made it to the Final 48 in 2010, have been clamoring to get back to the state tournament since a tough loss to Lauderdale County, the eventual 3A champs, in last year’s Northwest Regional Tournament final. The two teams could meet again if both are victorious at the semifinal stage, but Adams isn’t ready to think that far ahead just yet.
“Sure, we’d absolutely love to play them because that means we’re in the finals, but that’s out of my mind right now,” he said. “If you’re dumb enough to look past a Final Four game, then you don’t have any business winning a game.”
A few folks threw together a Final Four shirt design late Sunday night and had to cut the order form off early Monday in order to get it in on time. Just a little more than 400 T-shirts were purchased in that short span, which didn’t surprise Adams considering how much the people of Holly Pond love basketball.
“Many in this community remember the old Final Four teams that my dad (Dwayne Adams) coached and the ones Chuck (Gambrill) played in 1986, 1987 and 1988. They remember that, and boy, it creates a buzz and an excitement. And when you have both of the teams down there, it’s just wow.”
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.