PREP BASKETBALL: Rickard’s late free throws lead Holly Pond past Decatur 66-64, West Point falls to Susan Moore

Holly Pond's Blake Rickard finished with 21 points and hit the game-winning free throws in the Broncos' 66-64 win over Decatur Tuesday night. (Sammy Confer/The Cullman Tribune)

HOLLY POND, Ala. – Day two of the 66th annual Holly Pond Thanksgiving Tournament got underway Tuesday afternoon and a pair of local teams were back in action. It was a tale of two halves for West Point as they ended up dropping their game to Susan Moore, 66-49. The final game of the night saw Holly Pond come from behind to knock off Decatur 66-64 thanks in large part to a pair of free throws by Blake Rickard in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

Holly Pond 66 – Decatur 64 (Varsity Boys)

Decatur scored the first five points of the game to take an early 5-0 lead, but Holly Pond got on the scoreboard on a Gunnar McBee trey. Blake Rickard and McBee each hit a driving layup to make it a 10-7 game. The Red Raiders pushed their lead to 15-9, but Kollin Brown hit a layup to make it 15-11. Rickard got fouled while shooting a three and knocked down all three from the line to cut it to 15-14 with 2:34 left to go in the first period. Decatur finished the quarter on a 9-1 run to push their lead to 24-16 going into the second period.

Holly Pond quickly cut into the deficit to start the second quarter as Brown converted on an and-one opportunity to make it a 24-19 game. Rickard and Daniel Farr each hit a basket down low, and Sawyer Olinger hit a pair of free throws to cut it to 26-25. Decatur scored the next five points to push their lead to 31-25, but six straight points by Brown cut the deficit to just three at 32-31 with a little over two minutes to go in the first half. Seven straight Red Raider points increased their lead to 39-31, but a pair of Brown free throws cut it to 39-33. Holly Pond would go into the half trailing, 40-33.

A Couch basket down low and an and-one by Rickard made it a 40-38 game with 5:39 left to go in the third period. Six straight points by the Red Raiders pushed their lead to 46-38, but a Daniel Farr basket made it a 46-42 game. A huge and-one by Rickard cut it to 48-45 with 1:30 left to go in the third period and the Broncos closed the quarter out strong as a huge steal by Farr would then lead to a Brown layup to make it a 52-48 game going into what would end up being a thrilling final period.

Diego Garcia converted an and-one of his own to make it a 53-51 game early on in the final quarter. A 6-1 run by Decatur saw them increase their lead to 59-52, but that’s when Holly Pond would start their comeback. Couch split a pair of free throws to make it 59-53, then Jayden Holloway drilled a huge three from the left corner to cut it to 59-56. Brown knocked down a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game with 3:22 left to go in the game. Each team hit a basket to keep it at a one-point game with less than three minutes to play in the contest.

A Rickard layup made it 63-62 with 1:29 left in the game. The Red Raiders split a pair from the line to make it 64-62, then a driving layup by Olinger tied it up at 64. After forcing a Decatur turnover, the Broncos had a chance to win the game. Rickard got fouled with eight seconds left in the contest and he calmly drilled both free throws to give the Broncos their first lead of the game, 66-64. Holly Pond forced a couple of defensive stops to help seal their huge, two-point win as they move on to the championship game.

Rickard finished the game with 21 points for Holly Pond. Brown added 16 points. McBee ended up with seven points, while Garcia and Olinger each added five points.

The Broncos will take on Arab Wednesday night at 6:30 in the championship game.

Susan Moore 66 – West Point 49 (Varsity Boys)

Jay Lamar, J.D. Cochran, and Ashton Rodgers helped West Point get off to a quick 10-4 lead with a little over four minutes to go in the first quarter. Lamar’s first trey of the game pushed the Warrior lead to 13-4, but the Bulldogs scored the next five points to cut the West Point lead to 13-9 with 2:20 left to go in the first period. Cochran drilled a huge trey right before the buzzer sounded from the top of the key as the Warriors took a 16-9 lead into the second period.

A Rodgers trey, later followed by back-to-back baskets down low by Cochran, pushed West Point’s lead to 23-10 early in the second quarter. Susan Moore countered with a huge run of their own as they scored the next nine points to make it a 23-19 game with a little over four minutes to go in the first half. Another Susan Moore basket cut it to 24-21, but a Lamar three made it 27-21. A pair of Cade Welborn free throws and another Cochran basket down low pushed their lead to 31-24, but a Bulldog trey swiveled the deficit to just four at 31-27 at the half.

Susan Moore started the third quarter red-hot as they went on a 9-1 run to take a 36-32 lead. Lamar hit a basket down low to make it 36-34, but an and-one, followed by a basket down low, pushed the Bulldog lead to 41-34. A Lamar trey cut it to 41-37, but the Bulldogs finished the quarter out strong as they scored the final six points and the Warriors found themselves down, 47-37, going into the final period.

Susan Moore kept widening their lead to start out the final period as they scored the first five points of the quarter to make it 52-37. Rodgers knocked down a long-range shot to cut it to 52-40 and later on, Lamar hit one from deep to make it 54-43. The Bulldogs, though, didn’t let West Point get any closer after that as they finished the game on a 12-6 run and the Warriors ended up dropping their game to Susan Moore, 66-49.

Lamar led the way for West Point with 18 points. Cochran added 15 points. Rodgers ended up with 12 points and Welborn chipped in with four. West Point will take on Curry Wednesday at 2 p.m.

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