BIRMINGHAM — It had been a dream season for coach Scott Adams and the Holly Pond girls basketball team leading into their state final matchup against Lauderdale County, but unfortunately for Adams and his squad, they awoke just a moment too soon.
The No. 7 Lady Broncos came up short in their bid for the school's first-ever state championship, falling to the No. 2 Tigers 59-41 on Saturday at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
"What a program," Adams said of Lauderdale County (33-5). "They are an incredibly talented team. My hat goes off to coach (Brant) Llewellyn. If you are going to lose, it might as well be to the best."
The Tigers came out with a roar, scoring on their first six possessions to race out to a 15-2 advantage.
"That was like a knockout punch to us early," Adams said. "It put us on our heels a little bit, and we were kind of wondering when the bleeding would stop. I don't think they could have played any better in that quarter."
Holly Pond (29-6), backed by Rachel Finley's seven first-quarter points, fought back toward the end of the frame and trailed 21-13 heading into the second quarter.
Things didn't get better, though, as the Tigers outscored the Broncos 15-8 in the eight-minute stretch, using a full-court press to garner turnovers that fueled their run.
"We knew their press was going to be tough," Adams said. "No. 1 on our list heading into this game was breaking their press. There were some times we didn't, and it was crucial. We made some mistakes on it, but I thought we handled it pretty well overall."
Ivy Wallen scored 17 first-half points for Lauderdale County and was a perfect 6 for 6 from the field as well.