COUNTY TOURNAMENT: Lady Broncos advance to semifinals with 43-34 win over Cold Springs

Holly Pond’s Raeleigh Olinger drives past Cold Springs defenders during the Lady Broncos’ 43-34 win over the Lady Eagles Wednesday night. (Katie Drummond/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Varsity girls action tipped things off at the Cullman County Tournament Wednesday night and it was a classic battle between the Lady Eagles of Cold Springs and the Holly Pond Lady Broncos. Holly Pond led 27-17 at the half but had to fend off a second half rally from the Lady Eagles to collect a 43-34 win and a spot in the varsity girls’ semifinals.

Ella Bruer drilled a three to put Cold Springs on the scoreboard first, then Malaya Taylor added a basket in the paint to give the Lady Eagles an early 5-0 lead. Holly Pond got their first basket of the game on a Kaylee Stallings three with 5:17 remaining in the first quarter, then she later added another one from the left wing to give the Lady Broncos a 6-5 lead. Kenady Graves put in a floater to put Cold Springs on top, 7-6. Another Bruer trey gave the Lady Eagles a 10-8 lead. Maddi Ham knocked down a triple to put Holly Pond back on top, 12-10. Stallings nailed her third three of the quarter to push the Lady Bronco lead to 15-12 and Holly Pond would take a 15-13 lead into the second period.

Taylor scored on a basket in the paint to tie the game up at 15 early in the second quarter. The Lady Broncos, though, took over after that as Kamryn Tankersley knocked down a long jumper to give them a 17-15 lead. Raeleigh Olinger and Tankersley each added a basket to push Holly Pond’s lead to 22-15. Taylor ended the Lady Eagle scoring drought with a basket in the paint to make it a 22-17 game, but a Tankersley three and a pair of Lauryn Hoffman free throws saw Holly Pond take a 27-17 lead into the locker room.

The third quarter was a defensive one for both teams. A driving basket by Ciara Calvert cut the Cold Springs deficit to eight at 27-19, then a Taylor basket cut it to 27-21. The Lady Broncos scored their first points of the quarter on a pair of Emma Earl free throws; she later added another one from the free-throw line to increase Holly Pond’s lead to 30-21. A pair of Calvert baskets in the paint made it a 31-25 game, but Ham got fouled just before the period ended. She ended up hitting both from the line as Holly Pond would take a 33-25 lead into the final period.

The Lady Eagles started to make a dent into the Lady Bronco lead to start the fourth quarter. Bruer knocked down a three, then Erin Bailey scored in the paint to cut it to 33-30. Bruer cut it to 33-32 on a pair of free throws with 5:21 remaining in the game. Olinger nailed three free throws to make it a 36-32 contest, then Stallings added one from the charity stripe to give Holly Pond a 37-32 lead. A pair at the line from Mia Light made it a 37-34 game. The Lady Broncos, though, would seal the game at the free-throw line as Ham, Stallings, and Tankersley knocked down the final six free throws as Holly Pond advanced to the semi-finals with a 43-34 win over Cold Springs.

Stallings finished the game with 12 points for the Lady Broncos. Ham and Tankersley each added nine points, while Olinger ended up with seven. Cold Springs was led by Bruer, who finished with 12 points. Taylor added 10 points and Calvert ended up with six. Holly Pond will take on (1) Good Hope Thursday night at 6:45 p.m.

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