HOLLY POND – It is that time of year again. Time to fill up on turkey around the Thanksgiving table then fill up on hoops at the 60th Annual Holly Pond Thanksgiving Tournament.
The tournament action started off with the Cullman Bearcats taking on the Fairview Aggies.
Fairview 60, Cullman 58
Fairview played a tough game, working hard in the paint while trying to keep Cullman’s big man, Dylan Finch, in check. Thanks to the strong play of the Aggies both from the perimeter and in the paint, coupled with the Beacrats’ less than optimal 5 of 13 performance from the charity stripe, Fairview was able to take a 29-25 lead in the first half of play.
Cullman came out of the locker room with the hot hand, rattling off five straight points thanks to Finch and Fletcher Jennings. Fairview countered buckets from Bryson Fletcher and Tyler Ball to push the lead back to four. The two teams spent the next four minutes trading points but the Bearcats turned up the heat, going on a 9-3 run to end the third trailing Fairview by just two.
Everyone in attendance got their money’s worth in the fourth with four ties and 20 lead changes, but it was the last lead change that was the biggest. Down by one, Cullman’s Reese Harbison drove the lane and got hacked going to the line. He hit one of his two free throws to tie the game with less than 10 seconds left in regulation. Fairview pushed the ball into the front court with it winding up in the hands of Fletcher. From the right wing he drove the ball right at the basket and laid it off the glass with his right hand, getting the shot to fall with just more than a second left, giving Fairview the thrilling 60-58 victory.
Holly Pond 89, Arab 70
After West Morgan dropped J.B. Pennington 60-41 in the only contest of the night that didn’t feature a local team, it was the host Holly Pond Broncos' turn to take the floor against the Arab Knights.
As they have done so many times this year, the Holly Pond Broncos got off to a fast start, jumping out to an early 10-2 run that was highlighted by a thunderous dunk from Matt Cahoon that got the crowd going and led to a Knight timeout.
Coming out of the break, Joshua Hall got the Arab crowd on their feet with a put back dunk but Holly Pond maintained control and took a 25-12 lead after one.
The action see-sawed in the second with each team hitting shots and playing solid defense. Midway through the quarter Arab was able to put together a six-point run that cut into a 17-point lead Holly Pond had established and here is where the score stayed for the remainder of the frame as Holly Pond went to the locker room at the half up 45-33.
The points kept falling but the pace slowed considerably in the second half as 21 total fouls were called in the third quarter alone, putting both teams in the double bonus for the remainder of the third and the entirety of the fourth quarter. Each team shot well from the stripe, Holly Pond 9 of 13 and Arab 7 of 10, making the quarter a stalemate with Holly Pond taking a 10-point advantage to the final frame.
In the fourth it looked as if Arab had found their range and were poised for a comeback, but the stellar defense of Dawson Foust and the lights out shooting of Drew Jones, who had 14 points on the quarter including back-to-back three balls that came at a crucial juncture in the quarter, gave Holly Pond the victory, 89-70.
Tomorrow’s action will, once again, tip at 5 p.m. with the Arab Knights taking on the J.B. Pennington Tigers. Game two is slated for 6:30 p.m. and will feature the Rebels of West Morgan against the Fairview Aggies. The nightcap will be the Holly Pond Broncos taking on the Cullman Bearcats.
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