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:
% 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.
% Geraldine (20-11) vs. Saks (15-7), Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
% No. 4 Holly Pond (23-9) vs. Weaver (16-6), Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
% Geraldine: The Bulldogs are returning the regional picture for the first time since 2006. They’ll be seeking their first regional victory since 2002. Geraldine has won nine of its last 12 contests, including last Friday’s 64-47 final over J.B. Pennington. The Bulldogs were bounced by Holly Pond 72-64 in last year’s sub-regional round.
% Saks: The Wildcats followed up a football season for the ages with an equally solid campaign on the basketball court. Saks decisively ousted No. 5 Cleveland 69-46 for its latest win. Roc Green led the way with five 3-pointers and 21 points. The Wildcats bested Weaver 78-69 in their area tourney final. The two split their season series.
% Holly Pond: The Broncos are making their fourth regional appearance in a row, with two each at JSU and Wallace State. Their first-round opponent is a familiar one. The Green and White set aside Weaver 72-65 in overtime of last year’s regional semifinal before putting 107 points on the scoreboard in a championship triumph. The team they beat for the 2013 title, Pisgah, was the same one Holly Pond eliminated last Friday with a 98-73 sub-regional smashing. There aren’t many foursomes more dangerous than Colby Adams, Austin Smith, Gunter Morris and Cody Jones. The addition of junior varsity call-ups Matt Cahoon, Drew Jones and Bailey Smith have also given the Broncos a much-welcomed boost in the depth department.
% Weaver: After four years away from regional play, the Bearcats have pulled off back-to-back berths to Pete Mathews Coliseum. Weaver punched its ticket with a close 72-68 sub-regional win versus Ashville. The Bearcats had to fight off first quarter and halftime deficits brought on by a plethora of missed free throws and easy layups. Seniors Chris English and Timothy Hawkins both provided 19 points in the comeback effort. Shon’D McKinney (14 points) and Delo Forbes (11) were also notable offensive contributors.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at email@example.com.