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February 17, 2014

CLASS 3A NORTHEAST REGIONAL TOURNEY PREVIEW: Broncos’ girls, boys seeking back-to-back titles at JSU

CULLMAN — If Scott Adams had to choose only one place to play at other than Felton Easterwood Gymnasium, it’d likely be Jacksonville State University.

The college campus has been extremely kind to his Holly Pond girls squad since 2010, resulting in a pair of matching trips to the Final 48 both times the Lady Broncos have qualified for the Northeast Regional Tournament.

The third-ranked Green and White will look to make it 3 for 3 when they finally get to take the floor at Pete Mathews Coliseum on Thursday afternoon.

Mitch Morris has come to appreciate JSU as well. His No. 4 Holly Pond boys enter this year’s event dead set on defending the crown they corralled in 2013. They’ll tip-off immediately following the girls game.

Check out a glimpse of the Class 3A brackets for the Broncos’ girls and boys:

Girls

% Plainview (21-7) vs. White Plains (21-8), Thursday at 9 a.m.

% No. 3 Holly Pond (29-3) vs. Saks (9-14), Thursday at noon

% Plainview: The Bears have won a majority of their ballgames by double digits this season, including an impressive 71-56 sub-regional triumph over No. 8 Brindlee Mountain.

% White Plains: The Wildcats rolled right into JSU with a 78-68 decision against Ashville. They squeaked by Saks 48-46 in the area tournament championship after splitting their season series.

% Holly Pond: The Lady Broncos are the only returners from last year’s 3A field. They’ve reached the regional finals three of the last four years and have two state appearances to show for it. The Green and White topped Piedmont and Ashville en route to the 2013 tournament title. Holly Pond used all-out hustle to pass a difficult sub-regional test from No. 6 Pisgah. Rachel Finley, Natasha Holcombe and Taylor Rowell make up a sensational set of seniors, while junior point guard Meg Gambrill runs the show with extreme efficiency. Kaitlyn Stephens and Melissa Clingman have also come on strong as of late.

% Saks: The Wildcats only had eight wins before last Friday but found a way to add a ninth with a 63-59 victory over Glencoe. The youthful squad received 32 points from freshman Maiya Northard and 11 points and five steals from eighth-grader Miracle Dennard. Saks lost 61-57 to eventual regional champ Madison Academy during its last appearance in 2012. The Wildcats reached the regional final in 2011.

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