PREP BASKETBALL: HP Thanksgiving Tournament day 1 recap

The Cullman Bearcats held off Lincoln County for a 65-60 win Monday night. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

HOLLY POND, Ala. – The 64th annual Holly Pond Thanksgiving Tournament tipped off Monday afternoon and there were local squads involved in all of day one’s matchups. The Fairview Aggies fell to Arab in the first game of the day and in the next contest, Cold Springs was narrowly defeated by New Hope. Cullman topped Lincoln County in the third matchup of the evening and Douglas outpaced Holly Pond in day one’s nightcap.

Arab 71 – Fairview 44

Both teams were tied at five after Fairview’s Landon Tweedie hit a pair from the line, but Arab quickly took over after that as they shot lights out from long-range, hitting seven from there, including three from Ed Johnson and a pair from Kolby Conley, and they held the Aggies to just a Owen Yarbrough basket the rest of the quarter as they took a 27-7 lead into the second quarter. 

Fairview made it 29-12 after a basket by Yarbrough, but the Knights again went on a huge run as they got everybody involved on offense, outscoring the Aggies 16-6, the rest of the quarter as they pushed its lead to 45-18 at the half. The Arab lead was 30 for most of the second half as Fairview had a hard time getting going against the Knights’ tough defense. Arab won the game with ease, 71-44, to move on to the next round, where the Knights will take on New Hope at 5:30 Tuesday.

Everyone found the scoring column for Arab, with Johnson leading the way with 15 points. Conley added 10 points. James Reynoso ended up with eight. Dakota NeSmith, John Brady Bowman and James Jackson each finished with six points. For Fairview (1-2), Yarbrough led the way with 15 points. Tweedie added seven points, and Aaron Carpenter chipped in with five points.

New Hope 38 – Cold Springs 37

The second game saw New Hope take on Cold Springs and it was exciting right down to the end. Cold Springs was held scoreless for almost three minutes until a Micah Calvert trey tied it up at three. The Indians broke the tie and took an 8-3 lead, but the Eagles finished the quarter strong as a Seth Williams three made it a 10-8 game after one.

A Brody Peppers free throw cut it to 10-9 early on in the second quarter, but New Hope pushed its lead to 15-9 and they later made it 20-11 after scoring five in a row. A Tanner Kilgo layup ended up being the final basket of the first half as the Eagles went into the locker room down 20-13. An Indian trey quickly made it a 10-point game, but consecutive treys by Calvert made it a 23-19 contest. After New Hope hit a three to push its lead to seven, the Eagles went on a huge run to finish the quarter, as Peppers started the 12-0 run with a pair of free throws, and Roberto Ayala ended it by hitting back-to-back treys, as the Eagles took a 31-26 lead into the final period.

A New Hope three-point play cut the Cold Springs lead to 33-31 with 4:31 remaining in the game and Calvert kept the lead at two after hitting a pair from the line with 3:42 remaining in the contest. The Indians nailed a long-range shot with 2:10 remaining to take a 36-35 lead, but Kilgo later hit a huge shot down low to get the lead right back for Cold Springs at 37-36 with 15 remaining. New Hope, though, hit a layup with 1.5 seconds remaining and a last-second shot from half-court was off the mark and the Eagles fell just one point short at the end, 38-37.

Calvert led Cold Springs (2-1) with 11 points. Kilgo added eight points. Peppers ended up with six. Seth Williams finished with three and Brodi Williams chipped in with two. The Eagles will take on Fairview in the losers’ bracket game at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Cullman 65 – Lincoln County 60

A three-pointer from Tucker Gambrill and a basket inside by Max Gambrill kept the score knotted at 5 early in the first quarter. Lincoln County then began to pull ahead but a three from Jaden Orr and a tough basket inside by Kaleb Heatherly gave the ‘Cats a 12-11 lead midway through the opening period. Buckets from Tucker Apel and Garrison Sharpe gave Cullman a 19-13 lead with three minutes to play in the first and a jumper by Dylan Sessions, followed by another Heatherly basket, helped the Bearcats build a 25-15 lead going into the second quarter.

Max Gambrill had a huge second quarter for Cullman, scoring eight points to help the ‘Cats add to their lead. After six straight points from Max, Tucker Gambrill got another shot to fall and made it a 36-22 game midway through the second. Brodie Malcom laid one in to make it 40-24 with just under two minutes to play in the half and another layup inside from Heatherly gave Cullman a 42-25 advantage at the break.

The Bearcats had some more trouble on the offensive end in the second half and were held scoreless for the first few minutes of the third quarter before Tucker Gambrill nailed a three-pointer to put Cullman in front 45-27. Jaden Kay added a three of his own late in the third to make it a 53-33 game and the ‘Cats led the way 53-35 going into the fourth but Lincoln County was far from done.

The Falcons began to chip away in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 57-48 early in the period. A Malcom layup kept the Bearcats in front 60-48 with five minutes to play but a scoring run from Lincoln County made it a 5-point game with just two minutes remaining. However, Cullman was able to do enough at the free throw line to stop the comeback and held on to defeat the Falcons 65-60.

Max Gambrill led the Bearcats with 12 points in the win, followed by Tucker Gambrill with 11, Malcom with nine, Sharpe with eight and Heatherly with six. Cullman will take on Douglas tomorrow night at 7 in the next round of the tournament.

Douglas 60 – Holly Pond 47

A three-pointer from Casey Brown and a strong basket inside by Jayden Perkins gave the Broncos an early 5-2 advantage and a trey by Parker Sellers helped keep them in front 10-5 as the period went on. The Eagles began to climb back but another triple from Sellers kept Holly Pond within one at 14-13 midway through the first. Gunnar McBee dropped in a floater late in the quarter to cut the lead to 17-15 but Douglas went into the second quarter with a 21-15 lead.

Landon Rowell dropped in a three-pointer early in the second to cut the Douglas lead to 23-19 and Landon Perkins later added a three of his own to make it a 27-26 game with just over two minutes to play in the half. Jayden Perkins laid another in to keep the lead to 29-28 with less than a minute remaining in the period but the Eagles were able to get to the halftime break with a 31-28 advantage.

Points were hard to come by for Holly Pond in the third quarter. Douglas led the way 40-30 midway through the quarter and baskets from McBee and Jayden Perkins were all the Broncos could come up with before the start of the fourth. Holly Pond was held to just six points in the quarter and went into the final frame trailing 47-34.

The Eagles managed to pull ahead 50-36 midway through the fourth quarter but a three-pointer from Levi Boatright cut it to 50-39 with just over three minutes to play. However, the Broncos weren’t able to slow down Douglas’ offense and Holly Pond fell in Monday’s nightcap 60-47.

Jayden Perkins led the Broncos with 12 points in the loss, followed by Sellers with eight and McBee with six. Holly Pond will play Lincoln County tomorrow at 3:30 in the next round of the tournament.

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