Technical Foul on Oneonta Coach Saves the Game for Cold Springs Lady Eagles


DANVILLE – Victory for the Cold Springs Lady Eagles in the quarterfinal round of the 7th annual Danville Thanksgiving Tournament Wednesday night got locked up in the final seconds because of a technical foul on Oneonta coach David Elrod.

The Oneonta coach received a technical with six seconds remaining for calling a time out when he didn't have one left to use.

Cold Springs defeated the defending 4A state champion 41-37 to move into the Final Four of this 16-team tournament that has become one of the best girls' events for the Thanksgiving holiday period.

Oneonta was behind 38-37 with possession following the miss of a one-and-one by Cold Springs' guard Bailey West.

The Lady Redskins took the ball from the defensive side with guard Baylee Gibbs coming toward the team bench in front court and calling for a time out requested by coach Elrod.

Oneonta was given the time out, but officials also penalized them for exceeding their time out limit. They lost possession along with a chance for the Lady Eagles to score from the line to extend their very small margin.

Emme Willoughby did just that. The sophomore guard made the only free throws she attempted to that upped the advantage to 40-37.

Forced to foul on the inbounds in order to get possession, Oneonta did when Cold Springs threw it into center Caitlyn Hall with four seconds to go.

Hall made the front end that saved the game for the Lady Eagles. She missed the second attempt as time ran out with Oneonta taking the ball downcourt.

Cold Springs had pulled off a huge triumph, overcoming a contest with the Lady Redskins slowing down the tempo and the Lady Eagles having a hard time getting shots to fall.

Tammy West's squad had a 20-13 lead in the second period, but went cold in the closing moments. The Lady Redskins finished the frame with nine unanswered points as Gibbs took it inside and hit a short jumper when time expired to give them a 22-20 halftime lead.

The slow down pace by Oneonta served a purpose. Cold Springs made just three shots in the third, but all were treys as the long range field goals came from West, Keegan Johnson and Camryn Crider.

Cold Springs regained the advantage at 31-30. The Lady Eagles moved the lead to six but was unable to put away the Lady Redskins.

After getting into a one-and-one situation, the Lady Eagles missed with Oneonta getting the ball and going down to score on a three-pointer to trail 38-37 with 23 seconds to go.

Elrod called time out with that being the fifth for the Lady Redskins in the game.

His team fouled on the next Cold Springs possession, sending West back to the line with a chance to put the game away.

But the attempt missed, Oneonta rebounded and then had the fatal play that was similar to the ending of the 1993 NCAA championship game between Michigan and North Carolina in which Michigan center Chris Webber called a time out when his team was out of them.

Three free throws in the final six seconds enabled the Lady Eagles to cap off two wins on the day and take a 5-1 record into Friday's semifinal game at 12:40 p.m. against Decatur.

Decatur earned a shot to play Cold Springs by overcoming a 10-point halftime deficit to trim tournament host Danville 43-42. That game was decided with no time on the clock as Danville's Tabetha Hutto missed a free throw when she was fouled at the end of regulation.

For Cold Springs in the victory, McKinley Davis scored 12, Willoughby finished with 10, West had eight, Hall scored four and Johnson and Crider three points.

Oneonta fell to 6-3. The state champion got 16 from forward Destiny Sanders, but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter. Gibbs collected a dozen.

Cold Springs was not the only team from Cullman County to compete in the event.

Holly Pond wound up 1-1 on the day as did West Point while Fairview failed to win in two attempts.

Holly Pond defeated Walker 63-46 in the first round in the bracket that was played at Falkville's Tom Drake Gymnasium. The Lady Broncos lost in the quarterfinals to Athens 50-47 for their first setback of the season in six games.

West Point had a three-game winning streak broken in the opening round by a 55-36 loss to Decatur. New coach John Welborn, the brother of Tammy West, watched his Lady Warriors come back in the second round and knock off Sardis 46-33 behind 25 points from Mallory Walker.

Fairview played its two games in Falkville, coming up on the short end of a 47-35 decision to Brewer in the opener and then dropping a 53-46 encounter with Falkville.

All four teams will have doubleheader assignments on Friday.

Holly Pond and Brindlee Mountain begin the games in Danville at 10 a.m. The Cold Springs-Decatur semifinal tips off at 12:40 p.m.

Down in Falkville, Fairview gets a 10 a.m. battle with the loser of the Rogers-Walker game.

West Point and Hartselle meet at 2 p.m. This will be the second meeting between the two this week. West Point won in a regular game Tuesday at home 50-45.

Both gyms have games scheduled throughout the day. The championship in Danville is to tip off at 7:30 p.m. while the last game at Falkville is slated to begin at approximately 6:10 p.m.