HOLLY POND —
It’d be easy to look at Holly Pond’s three recent losses as a sign of a worrisome slump just in time for postseason play.
It’d be lazy, too.
A closer view at the victors in each instance unveils a talented trio of contenders — Class 2A No. 9 Cold Springs, 3A No. 2 Madison Academy and 5A No. 10 Cullman — not exactly a list of pretenders without similar playoff aspirations.
On Friday night at Felton Easterwood Gymnasium, the fourth-ranked Broncos returned to their familiar role as aggressors, setting aside overmatched Brindlee Mountain 104-57 to cap off the semifinals of the boys 3A, Area 12 Tournament.
Colby Adams tacked on 11 of his team-high 20 points in the third quarter, and Austin Smith exploded for the Green and White’s first 12 points as part of a 19-point effort.
That senior-junior duo was pretty snazzy, but even they had nothing on the pair of Holly Pond (20-9) up-and-comers — freshmen Matt Cahoon and Drew Jones — who really stole the show. The former dribbled and drove for 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, while the latter put on his latest display from downtown, pushing the Broncos into triple digits with his fourth and final 3-pointer at the 1:46 mark in the last frame.
All 13 players on the Green and White roster pitched in at least one point.
“We’ve got some guys that can flat out shoot and play,” Holly Pond coach Mitch Morris said. “Especially when we have some younger guys that had to step in and play a lot in the second half, that’s really good on our side. It was good to see that.”
The first half was an absolute foulfest, with both teams dipping into the double bonus by the early stages of the second quarter. Brindlee Mountain knocked down 17 of 22 free-throw attempts in the opening 16 minutes compared to a 9-of-14 clip for the home team, resulting in a 44-31 Bronco lead at halftime.
As relatively close as the first two stanzas were, the ensuing set was anything but.
The Green and White set the tone from behind the arc in the third quarter, with five different players combining for seven treys in the frame. Adams accounted for three, while Jones, Cody Jones, Nathan Duke and Chase Allbright all pulled the trigger on one.
The fourth quarter was all about welcoming the future of Holly Pond to the present. Cahoon, Drew Jones and Bailey Smith — a trio of highly heralded call-up from the county’s junior varsity champs — pooled together for 24 of the Broncos’ 32 points during the ending act.
In all, the Green and White outscored the visitors 60-26 in the second half.
“That’s what we talked about at halftime — we didn’t play our game. We didn’t play good team ball,” Morris said. “Third quarter, we came out and establish that. Fourth quarter, we just went right along with it.”
Cody Jones and John Phillips aided the winning effort with seven points apiece, while Gunter Morris and Bailey Smith both had five. Other Holly Pond contributors were Duke, four points; Allbright and Hunter Walker, three each; Jacob Jones, two; and Josh Horton, one.
Brindlee Mountain’s Dylan Sanderson led all scorers with 21 points.
J.B. Pennington survived a 53-44 semifinal showdown against New Hope earlier in the evening. The Tigers’ reward? A date with the Broncos Monday at 7 p.m. in the final.
The Green and White pounded Pennington by 34 in early December and by 58 last month.
The winner will welcome Area 11’s runner-up for a sub-regional matchup next Friday. The loser will have to travel to the Area 11 champion.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at email@example.com.