PREP BASKETBALL: Addison edges Falkville 42-41, advances to area finals for 1st time in 18 years


BREMEN, Ala. – The Addison Bulldogs made the trip to Bremen to tip off the 2A, Area 13 Tournament at Cold Springs High School and after the top-seeded Eagles advanced with a 55-38 win over Winston County, it was Addison’s turn to take the floor. Brody Peppers led Cold Springs with 18 points in its win over the Yellow Jackets. The Bulldogs followed the Eagles with a big win of their own, narrowly defeating Falkville 42-41 to secure a spot in Friday’s Area Championship game for the first time since 2004.

Addison and Falkville have played two games this year and each team won on the other’s home court. Both games were one-possession finals, and this promised to be another barn burner. It didn’t disappoint.  

The first period started out with both teams on fire. Addison jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Falkville came back to cut the lead to 10-9 and then went on a 10-0 run to lead 19-10. Addison scored the last bucket of the period to go into the second frame trailing 19-13. Falkville was led by Senior Avery “Ken” Miller who had four points, one rebound and three blocked shots. Seniors Camden Reid and Colten Hooper each put in five points apiece. Addison was led by Junior Brady “Big Pappa” Gilbreath who had five points and two boards. Senior Justin “Rocky” Mather had five points as well.

The second period was a tough one to score in. Both Falkville and Addison played excellent defense as both teams were called for a combined four charges in the period. Shots were blocked and altered and in general it was tough sledding in the paint for anyone who ventured in there to try and score. Addison won the period 7-6 to go in at the half trailing 25-20.  Senior Eli “Curly” Howse led the Dawgs with five points in the period. Freshman Ronnie “Big Foot” Willette score the other basket for the Dawgs. Falkville was led by Miller’s three points and two rebounds.   

Addison has played better in the second half all year and it showed again on this night. The third period belonged to the Dawgs as they continued to drive inside and draw fouls from the much taller Blue Devils. The Bulldogs had to drive inside because the three ball wasn’t falling in Bremen, Alabama on this night. Addison won the rebounding battle in the third 7-3 and surprisingly for the game 30-19. Addison took the third period 13-5 to go into the fourth and final period up 33-30. Addison scored the final 10 points of the period. Addison was led by Gilbreath and Mather’s four points apiece. Addison’s Howse was a demon in the lane all night as he constantly forced the issue and then kicked the ball out to a teammate for a jumper. Howse had three points. Falkville had Senior Dawson Norwood nail a deep three-pointer and Reid had a bucket for the Devils.

The fourth period all by itself was worth the price of admission as the period was a period of runs, defensive stops and excellent hustle by both teams. Addison jumped out quick and had a 36-32 lead with a little over 5 minutes to go in the game. Falkville’s senior laden club then went on their own run, a 7-0 blitz, that put the Devils up 39-36 with just a 1:33 seconds to go in the game. Mather hit a free throw to cut the lead to two and Addison was able to force a bad pass from Falkville for a turnover. Addison’s Howse then took a pass and drove the lane for a layup in traffic that went around the basket and in to tie the game at 39-39. The Bulldogs were then burned by Falkville’s Reid as he drove in for a layup to give the Devils the lead at 41-39 with only 41 seconds to go. Addison turned the ball over and it looked like the Bulldog season was over, but the never say die Dawgs came up with a huge defensive stop and got the ball back with 24 seconds on the clock. 

If there was any wonder who would take the last shot, you would be wrong. Addison has a secret weapon when it comes to crunch time, and he is beginning not to be so much of a secret. Senior Christian “Ice Man” Roberts has hit two game winning shots in his career, and you just knew he was going to get another chance. Roberts, who hadn’t scored all night, set up just outside the three-point line and nailed a trey, hitting nothing but net, to give the Bulldogs the 42-41 lead with only seven seconds left on the clock. Incidentally, it was the exact same spot, in the exact same gym that Roberts nailed a three pointer at the buzzer to beat Cold Springs last year. Falkville’s Miller shot an eight-footer with Bulldogs all around him, and it looked like it was going in, but it was not to be as the ball wouldn’t fall and Addison advances. The Bulldogs win a thriller 42-21 to improve to 19-10 on the year.

Addison Head Coach Ben Mastin was proud of the way his team fought and is excited to reach a milestone that the Bulldogs haven’t reached in nearly two decades.

“We didn’t play our best, but we were able to come away with the win. Falkville is a good team with a lot of length. I was very happy that we were able to outrebound them by 10 or something like that. I mean we really rebounded the ball well tonight,” Mastin said. “This game does a lot for our confidence since the guys know that they can win a game with the game and their season on the line. Our defense was very good tonight. Falkville is a tough team to defend because of their size. We were able to get stops when we needed them, especially at the end. It gives us a chance to play for Addison’s first area championship since 2004. We still have a lot of work to do but the guys will hit the gym and put in the work like they have all year.”

Unofficial stats:

Addison was led by Howse with a game high 13 points and five rebounds. Mather had 10 points and five boards. Gilbreath had nine points and five boards. Jed “Wizard” Wilkins had four points and two boards. Roberts had three points and seven boards. Willette had three points, three boards and a block.  Lane “Duct Tape” Tubb and Joe “Iso” Harris had one board each. Briley “Snake” Hayes had one rebound, one assist and one steal.

Falkville was led by Reid who had nine points and two boards. Joshua “Kid Rock” Bradford had eight points, four boards and a block. Miller had seven points, four boards and five blocks. Norwood had seven points and four boards. Hooper had six points and two boards.   

Addison will face Cold Springs for the Championship Friday night. The teams have split their two regular season matchups.

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