PREP BASKETBALL: Addison splits season-opening matchups against Belgreen


ADDISON, Ala. — Addison opened up its 2020 basketball season at home Thursday night with a pair of matchups against the Bulldogs of Belgreen. The Addison lady Bulldogs won the opener 68-62 while the boys fell 79-49 in the nightcap.

Addison 68 – Belgreen 62 (varsity girls)

The Addison Lady Dawgs introduced their young, first-year head coach, 23-year old Bailey West, to the hometown faithful and they were rewarded with a hard fought 68-62 victory.

The opening period was an introduction to the type of team that West wants, a tough defensive team that puts pressure on the ball and forces your opponets to make mistakes. The Lady Dawgs hounded the ball handlers with full court press and forced numerous turnovers. The young Dawgs, not a senior on the roster, hustled and dove for every loose ball. The period ended with the score tied at 10 but if it were not for Belgreen’s 5’10” center and all-everything player, Senior Emma Dempsey the score could have been worse. Dempsey was dominant for Belgreen all night long.

The second period had the Dawgs go into a funk on offense, but the defense was still there. The shots were not falling but Addison dominated the glass outrebounding Belgreen, even with Dempsey towering over the Lady Dawgs, 26-19. Dempsey continued to dominate and had 27 of Belgreen’s 34 points in the first half. The half ended with Belgreen up 34-22 over the youthful Lady Dawgs. Anna Grace Luker, who plays angry, and Gracie Manley, who owned the glass tonight, kept the Dawgs in the game.

West may have given her best Pat Summit pep talk at the half because when the Lady Dawgs came out, they were on fire on offense and their defense suffocated the opposition. The third period was a total team effort as Luker, Manley and Lydia Ergle dominated the glass and Molly Gilbreath, Bracey Rodgers and Manley scored at will. Addison forced turnovers, grabbed rebounds, blocked shots and just plain out hustled Belgreen. Dempsey was held to five points in the period and when the buzzer sounded to end the third, Addison had outscored Belgreen 27-9, to take a 49-43 lead into the fourth quarter.

Both teams started making shots and Belgreen hit their free throws to end the period with both teams scoring 19 points. In the end Molly Gilbreath nailed five out of six free throws to seal the 68-62 win.

It was a nice opening night win for the Lady Dawgs to get their record to 1-0 and give Coach West her first career victory. West said after the game, “I am so proud of our effort tonight. I’ve told the girls all summer that we are a very young team and will have to win with defense this year. We focused on the press and rebounding. I told them, some nights your shots aren’t going to fall but defense and effort will travel with you and be there every night. We don’t have a senior on the team, but we can grow together and get better and better every day.”

Manley had a Lebron James like performance with 29 points, 24 rebounds and two steals. Gilbreath scored 17 points, to include three 3-pointers. Rodgers put in 16 points, eight rebounds, three steals and five assists. Luker had three points, 12 rebounds and six steals. Ergle chipped in three points and six rebounds.

When Manley was asked about her tremendous night she stated, “I don’t really care about the points, but I love getting rebounds.”

Belgreen was led by Dempsey who had a game high 37 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Kaylee Chandler had 15 points and six rebounds.

Addison travels to Winfield to take on the Pirates in a Friday night matchup.

Belgreen 79 – Addison 49 (varsity boys)

The Boys team played a very good Belgreen Bulldogs team and hung around with them for the first half until Belgreen pulled away to win in convincing fashion, 79-49.

Belgreen jumped out in front 22-14 in the first period as Belgreen junior point guard Will Bonner Jr. dominated the floor. Bonner drove to the basket, shot the outside shot and plainly did whatever he wanted to on the court. Logan “Baby Shaq” Wilkins and Eli “Curly” Howse kept the Dawgs close. The second period started much as the first until Bonner picked up his second foul and had to sit the majority of the period. Addison used his absence to close to 38-34 at the half. Addison controlled the boards in the second period with Christian “Ice Man” Roberts, Wilkins and Xavier “Mr. Smooth” Barley rebounding and playing solid defense.

The second half was a complete and total disaster. Addison could do not right and Belgreen could do no wrong. Belgreen showed why they may be in Birmingham to end the year by outscoring Addison 41-15 in the second half. Addison went cold and you can’t do that against a quality team like Belgreen. It didn’t help when Wilkins had his nose broke early in the third period and missed the majority of the second half. The Dawgs never quit but were outmatched on this night. 

Bulldogs Head Coach Ben Mastin stated, “Since football season ended on Friday, we have only had two or three full practices this year. Five of our nine players were on the football team, so we have to get everyone used to playing together as a team. We will always play a challenging schedule while I am here, and it will make us a better team in the end. Playing better competition is how you improve your skill set and gain mental toughness. We will win region this year and we are going to win County as well. This is a good team and I have confidence in us moving forward.”

Wilkins led the Dawgs with 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Howse had 11 points, one board and three assists. Roberts scored three points and had nine boards. Cannon “TNT” Hiller had four points, three rebounds and three assists. Seth “Fear the Beard” Paris logged two three pointers for his six points.

Belgreen was led by Bonner’s 28 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals. Keep in mind he didn’t play half the game,” Belgreen Head Coach Marty Cooper said “It is a pleasure to coach Will (Bonner). He is like a coach on the court. He runs our team.”

Addison will be looking for its first win when it travels to Winfield for a Friday night tussle.

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