HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Top-seeded Cold Springs and fifth-seeded Hanceville met in Friday night’s first varsity boys’ semifinal matchup and it was a back and forth affair that saw too many big shots, ties and lead changes to count. Four quarters weren’t enough to settle things between these two teams and it took an overtime period to decide a winner but after 36 hard fought minutes, the Eagles emerged with a 60-54 win and a spot in tomorrow’s county championship game.
Brody Peppers scored the first basket of the game to give the Eagles an early, 2-0 lead and a pair of Adam Hill free throws kept them in front 4-2 with just over four minutes remaining in the first quarter. Micah Calvert laid one in to stretch the lead to 6-2 but Izayah Glenon scored a strong basket in the paint to cut the lead to two with two minutes to play in the opening period. Tanner Kilgo scored to make it an 8-4 game late in the first but Glenon split a pair of free throws and Zach Campbell buried a three-pointer to tie things up at 8. A Kilgo basket put Cold Springs up 10-8 with eight seconds on the clock and the Eagles went into the second leading by two.
Noah Jones nailed a corner three for Hanceville to give the Bulldogs an 11-10 lead early in the second quarter, but Ayala turned a steal into an easy two points later in the period to put Cold Springs back in front 13-11. Campbell dropped in a running floater to tie the game at 13 but Calvert cut to the basket and scored to put the Eagles up by two midway through the second. Campbell laid one in on the other end to tie things up at 15 and Braxton Broad buried a corner three to give Hanceville an 18-15 lead with three minutes remaining in the half. Ayala banked one in to make it a 1-point game but Glenon scored inside on the next possession to build the Bulldogs lead back up to 20-17. Hill knocked down a pair of free throws to trim the lead to 20-19 with less than a minute to play in the second and Hanceville went into the locker room leading top-seeded Cold Springs by one.
Campbell drilled a three to stretch the lead to 23-19 at the start of the third quarter but Calvert came up with a steal and a quick basket to make it 23-21. Hill scored through a foul and added the free throw to give the Eagles a 24-23 lead with five minutes remaining in the third and he tacked on three more from beyond the arc to extend the lead to 27-23 midway through the period. Campbell netted a pair of free throws to trim the lead two and Carson Garrett added two more from the line to tie the game at 27. Kilgo laid one in to give Cold Springs a two-point lead with just over two minutes to play in the third but Tristan Herrera hit a jumper on the other end to keep things tied at 29. Kilgo scored from down in the post to put the Eagles up two but Dylan Twilley drained a three-pointer to have Hanceville a 32-31 advantage. Kilgo then pulled down an offensive board and put it back in just before the buzzer to put Cold Springs in front 33-32 going into the final frame.
Kilgo and Glenon traded baskets early in the fourth quarter to make it a 35-34 game and Peppers converted an and-one play at the line to give the Eagles a 38-34 advantage with just under six minutes remaining in the game. Campbell collected a steal, took it coast to coast and laid it in to cut the lead to two and a three from Herrera tied the game at 39 with just over four minutes to play. Ayala drove to the basket and scored to put Cold Springs back up by two but Broad answered with a corner three for the Bulldogs to give them a 42-41 lead midway through the fourth.
Herrera got another floater to fall to stretch the lead to three, but Peppers made it a 44-43 game with a quick bucket on the other end. Campbell scored inside on a reverse layup to give Hanceville a three-point lead, but Hill quickly responded with a basket of his own to make it 46-45 with two minutes remaining in the period. The Eagles forced a turnover with just under a minute on the clock and Calvert drilled a three from the left wing with 20 seconds to play to give Cold Springs a 48-46 lead. The Bulldogs took over possession for the final moments of the of the game and Campbell attacked the basket, drawing a foul and earning a trip to the line with four seconds on the clock. Campbell drained both of the foul shots to tie the game at 48 and Peppers’ last-second shot was no good, sending us to overtime.
Campbell netted two more free throws to begin the overtime period and give Hanceville a two-point lead, but Peppers scored on the other end to keep things tied at 50. Another Peppers bucket gave the Eagles a two-point advantage with just over two minutes to play in OT and Glenon split a pair of shots at the line to make it a 52-51 game. Ayala hit a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 54-51 with just over a minute on the clock but Campbell drove the basket and laid another in to cut the lead to one. Ayala split a pair of free throws to give Cold Springs a 55-53 lead with 40 seconds remaining, but Campbell was fouled on the other end and he split a pair at the line to trim the lead to 55-54. Calvert responded with a pair of foul shots to stretch the lead back to three and after the Bulldogs failed to score on their next possession, Calvert hit two more free throws to put the Eagles up 59-54 with 13 seconds to play. Hanceville was unable to score on the ensuing possession and Cold Springs survived the overtime fight with the Bulldogs 60-54.
Calvert and Kilgo led the way for the Eagles with 13 points each. Hill posted 12, Peppers finished with 11 and Ayala added 10. Campbell racked up 23 points for Hanceville in the loss. Herrera scored nine, Glenon added eight and Broad finished with six.
Cold Springs will take on either Good Hope or West Point in this year’s varsity boys championship game tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Tom Drake Coliseum.
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