Austin Smith led a group of four Holly Pond players in double figures, and the Broncos blew by Fairview for the second time in 10 days, soundly defeating their county rival 71-45 Friday night at home.
It wasn’t always the prettiest of performances, but Mitch Morris couldn’t help but be a bit content to see his second-ranked Green and White squad corral their fifth straight victory.
“I wasn’t very happy with the way that we played in some spots, especially our offense,” said the coach, whose team improved to 11-3. “I thought our defense played well most of the game. But it’s good to get a win, especially against Fairview. Now I’m hoping we can have a little bit of a break and enjoy Christmas before we pick up again.”
Tyler Yearwood and the Aggies hung around for most of the first half, trailing by only seven in the final moments of the first half. The momentum fell right back into Holly Pond’s hands, though, when Gunter Morris pulled down a rebound with five seconds to go and dished it ahead to Smith, who sped down the court and kissed the ball off the glass just before the buzzer sounded.
Smith built off his 14-point first half with 10 more in the second and constantly gave Fairview fits in nearly every department — rebounds (eight), steals (two), blocks (one) and flat-out hustle. The 6-foot-3 junior sensation also connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the early stages of the second quarter, easily the most impressive part of Smith’s evening according to his coach.
“That just adds to his game,” Morris said of the matchup nightmare’s long-range contributions. “I know what he can do around the rim. He’s already been able to prove that.
“He’s just a special kid. He still has a little bit of growing up to do, but he’s just got a ton of talent.”
Colby Adams added to the winning effort with 16 points and seven assists, while Morris and Josh Horton both picked up 10 points apiece.
The latter, who started in place of an ill Dauriel Harwood, looked crisp in his increased role, sinking a couple of shots from behind the arc in the third quarter to go along with the four points he collected in the opening frame.
“Josh did a really good job starting for us,” coach Morris said. “He’s a solid player, and he’s just going to get better and better.”
Despite feeling under the weather, Harwood still made an impact in his short time on the court, going unnoticed in the paint on three possessions in the last quarter to account for six points. Jacob Jones came off the bench for three points, and Cody Jones contributed two while dishing out a team-high seven assists.
The outcome overshadowed an exceptional outing by the Aggies’ Yearwood, who worked his magic inside and out for 20 points. The 6-foot-5 center also blocked two shots and hauled in five offensive boards and seven overall.
Other Purple and Gold contributors were Elijah Garrison, 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists; Ethan Widner, five points; Sid Smith and Chance Hill, four points each; and Hunter Brewer, eight rebounds.
Holly Pond will head to the Albertville Civitans Christmas Classic next Thursday to face Hokes Bluff at 4 p.m. Fairview will close out the first night of the West Point Christmas Tournament against Priceville at 7:45 p.m., also on Thursday.
% Holly Pond 73, Fairview 36: Seniors Rachel Finley and Natasha Holcombe combined for 45 points, 17 rebounds and eight blocks to lift the No. 4 Lady Broncos to their seventh consecutive victory.
With the Aggies double-teaming Meg Gambrill most of the county contest, Finley (25 points, eight boards and four blocks) and Holcombe (20, nine, four) had no problem taking over the lion’s share of the offensive production. Finley also helped out with three steals and three assists.
“Tasha usually looks for a shot, and I want her to. But Rachel sometimes doesn’t,” Green and White coach Scott Adams said. I told Rachel I want her to start being more aggressive looking for her shot, and Rachel and Tasha did a great job. I’m very pleased with their effort. They’re hard-working girls that I can always depend on.”
Finley and Holcombe both sank a pair of treys, as did Kaitlyn Stephens and Melissa Clingman. Gambrill and Abby Gambrill each hit one for Holly Pond, which outscored Fairview 31-13 in the second half to move to 7-0 in county play and 13-2 overall.
Stephens was superb with 10 points, while Clingman was close behind with eight. Other Bronco contributors were Meg Gambrill, five points, eight rebounds and five assists; Abby Gambrill, three points; and Taylor Rowell, two points, six assists and five rebounds.
“I’ve been telling our girls all along, if we can run the floor better and be in more of an attack mode on offense, we can score more points,” Adams said. “We’ve been playing good defense but just hadn’t been putting the points up that we should. And tonight, we attacked, got a lot of fast-break points and knocked down some 3’s at a consistent rate. I was very pleased.”
Sarah Harper led a balanced scoring effort for the Aggies with eight points. Other Purple and Gold contributors were Ashley Latham, seven points; Lizzie Garrison, six points and nine rebounds; Taylor Ann Yeager, six points and three steals; Dalys Mullican, four points; Kayla Aleman, three points; and Marlana Johnson, two points.
Holly Pond has a little less than a week to prepare for the first round of Cullman’s Yule Tide Classic. The Class 3A Broncos will get going against 5A Athens at 9:30 a.m. next Thursday.
“It’s a tough bracket, and we’re excited about the opportunity,” Adams said. “Everybody’s going to be in that same situation the day after Christmas. As experienced as these girls are, I have no doubt they’ll come out and play well.”
Fairview is slated to start round robin play next Friday at the Lady Rebel Classic. The Aggies will take on host West Morgan at 11:40 a.m. and Lexington at 3:40 p.m.
Junior Varsity Boys
% Holly Pond 70, Fairview 60: Matt Cahoon cranked out 24 points, Drew Jones jacked up 17 and Bailey Smith scored 11 to extend the Broncos’ season-long win streak to 13.
Akil Parham netted 18 points, and Austin Harris had 10 for the Aggies.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.