PREP BASKETBALL: West Point opens Christmas Tournament with win, Holly Pond, Cold Springs fall in opening round

West Point's Ashton Rodgers finished with 15 points in the Warriors' 78-50 win over Curry Tuesday night. (Sammy Confer/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. – This year’s West Point Christmas Tournament officially tipped off at West Point High School Tuesday afternoon and three local teams were there to compete. Holly Pond got things started against Hatton and after the Broncos took the lead in the final two seconds, the Hornets knocked down a game-winner at the buzzer to top Holly Pond 49-48. West Point followed them with a 78-50 win over Curry and in the nightcap, the Cold Springs Eagles fell to Winston County 56-25. Holly Pond will face Decatur Wednesday at 3 p.m., Cold Springs and Curry will follow them at 4:15 and the Warriors will wrap up the night against Winston County at 6:45.

Hatton 49 – Holly Pond 48 (Game One)

The Broncos came out red hot against the Hornets. Three-pointers from Diego Garcia, Blake Rickard and Gunnar McBee helped give Holly Pond an 11-3 lead midway through the first quarter. The Broncos started to cool down a bit after that and after a Christian Couch basket put them up 13-3, Hatton was able to trim the lead to 13-7 by the start of the second quarter.

McBee split a pair of free throws and then laid in a basket to make it a 16-7 game early in the second and Rickard netted a pair of free throws to keep Holly Pond ahead 18-9. Jackson Wilkins added a free throw to give the Broncos a 19-12 lead and five straight points from Kollin Brown put them on top 24-12 with two minutes remaining in the half. The next time down the court, Brown drove inside and flipped a pass behind his back to Couch for an easy layup and a 26-14 lead. However, a 6-0 run by the Hornets cut the Holly Pond lead down to 26-20 going into the halftime break.

The Broncos got the third quarter started with back to back buckets by Rickard and Brown to make it a 30-20 game but an 8-0 run from Hatton trimmed the lead to 30-28 with two minutes to play in the period. That’s when Brown buried back to back three-pointers and stretched Holly Pond’s lead to 36-30 going into the final frame.

The Hornets were able to cut the lead down to 36-35 early in the fourth quarter but McBee responded with a pair of free throws and a basket to put the Broncos in front 40-35. Garcia split a pair of foul shots and Sawyer Olinger knocked down a three-pointer to make it a 44-37 game with three minutes to play but Hatton would not go away. A 7-0 run by the Hornets tied the game at 44 with 1:30 remaining but Rickard laid one in to stop the run and retake a 46-44 lead for Holly Pond with less than a minute on the clock. Hatton was able to score on the other end and tie it up at 46 with a little over 20 seconds to play and the Broncos called timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Brown was able to get the shot he was looking for and he buried a mid-range jumper to put Holly Pond back in front 48-46 with 2.2 seconds remaining. Unfortunately for the home crowd, the Hornets had one more answer in them and they drilled a three as the final second ticked off the clock to take a thrilling, 49-48 win over the Broncos.

Brown led the way for Holly Pond with 16 points in the loss. Rickard finished with 11, McBee posted nine and Couch and Garcia each added four.

West Point 78 – Curry 50 (Game Three)

Jay Lamar knocked down a three to give West Point an early 3-2 lead, but Curry hit a pair of baskets as that gave them a 6-3 lead. Another Lamar trey tied it up at six with a little over five minutes to go in the first period. Later on, back-to-back and-ones by Jacob Harbison and Kolten Perry gave the Warriors a 12-9 lead. J.D. Cochran, Harbison, and Ashton Rodgers each added a basket as well and West Point took an 18-12 lead into the second period.

The Warriors quickly pushed their lead to double digits to start the quarter. A pair of Perry free throws was then followed by five straight points from Rodgers as that made it 25-12. Lamar and Perry each hit a pair of baskets to push the Warrior lead to 33-14, then eight straight points by Branden Burtis made it 41-19. West Point would take a 43-21 lead into the half. Six players found the scoring column for the Warriors in the first half.

West Point continued to add onto their lead as six quick points by Rodgers gave them a 49-25 lead. Baskets by Perry, Lamar, and Cochran saw the Warriors push their lead to 30 at one point and they would take a 65-33 lead into the final period. The fourth quarter was run under a hot clock and the bench players got a lot of playing time as West Point easily got past Curry, 78-50, to move on to the next round of the tournament.

Five players finished in double-figure scoring for West Point (6-10). Lamar and Rodgers each finished with 15 points. Burtis added 14 points and Perry and Cochran each ended up with 12 points.

Winston County 56 – Cold Springs 25 (Game Four)

Cole Bales hit a three to put Cold Springs on the scoreboard first, then Cameron Nunn added a free throw to give the Eagles a 4-0 lead. Five straight points by Winston County gave them a 5-4 lead, but a basket down low by Hank Harrison gave Cold Springs the lead right back at 6-5. Bales knocked down his second three of the game as that made it a 9-5 game, but a pair of late baskets by the Yellow Jackets tied the game up at nine going into the second period.

The second period saw both teams struggle to hit a basket as only eight points were scored in the quarter, all by Winston County, as they took a 17-9 lead into the half.

Nunn hit a basket to start out the third quarter for Cold Springs as that cut it to 17-11, but an 8-0 run by Winston County pushed their lead to 25-11. Nic Fallin hit a basket down low to make it a 25-13 game, but the Yellow Jackets kept adding onto their lead as they scored eight straight points to make it a 33-13 game. Winston County pushed their lead to 40-15 and took a 42-19 lead into the final period.

Cold Springs looked to get going to start out the fourth period. Bales hit a pair of free throws, Harrison hit a basket down low, and Bales added one as well to make it a 42-25 contest. They wouldn’t get any closer after that as Winston County scored the final 14 points of the game and the Eagles ended up falling to the Yellow Jackets 56-25.

Bales led the way with 12 points for Cold Springs (3-11). John Mark Smith and Harrison each added four points. Nunn ended up with three points and Fallin chipped in with two.

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