COUNTY TOURNAMENT: Hanceville edges Holly Pond in 57-50 thriller to advance to county finals

Hanceville’s Will Calvert posted 13 points in the Bulldogs’ 57-50 win over Holly Pond Friday night. (Bill Piper/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The Good Hope Raiders secured their place in Saturday’s county championship game with a win over Fairview Friday night and Holly Pond and Hanceville battled it out in our second game of the night to see who would be facing them. It took 16 lead changes to for them to settle things but after four tight quarters, the Bulldogs were able to edge out the Broncos and secure a spot in the county title game.

Carson Garrett converted an and-one play at the free throw line to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead at the start of the first but Kollin Brown responded with a pair of jumpers and a three-pointer to put Holly Pond in front 8-3. Noah Jones drained a three of his own later in the period to cut the Bronco lead to 10-8 and after Blake Rickard and AJ Wood exchanged free throws, Holly Pond led the way 11-9 going into the second quarter.

Brayden Harris buried a three-pointer to start the second and give Hanceville a 12-11 lead but neither team was able to hold the lead for long. Christian Couch and Will Calvert each scored to make it a 14-13 game and an and-one play by Couch gave the Broncos a 19-18 lead later in the period. Rickard drained a three to put Holly Pond ahead 22-19 midway through the quarter but Calvert and Campbell responded with back to back threes for Hanceville to give the Bulldogs a 25-22 lead. Brown netted a pair of free throws and Gunnar McBee laid one in to reclaim a 26-25 lead for the Broncos with two minutes to play in the first half. Logan Quick traded baskets with Couch to keep the score at 28-27 and Couch sank a pair of free throws with 20 seconds on the clock to give Holly pond a 30-27 lead at the halftime break. The first half featured 13 lead changes between the Broncos and Bulldogs.

The third quarter was just as tight as the first two. Holly Pond maintained a 34-30 before back to back buckets from Campbell and Calvert tied the score at 34 midway through the period. Hanceville took a 38-36 lead later in the third but Sawyer Olinger knocked down a three from the right corner to move the Broncos back ahead 39-38. Harris answered with a three on the other end to put Hanceville in front 41-39 and Couch laid one in for Holly Pond with 15 seconds on the clock to tie the game at 41 going into the final frame.

Harris stole an inbound pass and laid it up for an easy two points to give the Bulldogs a 43-41 lead at the start of the fourth and a basket from Garrett stretched the lead to 46-42 later in the period. McBee drained a three from the top of the key to make it a 1-point game with five minutes to play and Brown nailed a pair of free throws to tie things back up at 47. JT Davis was fouled with just over a minute remaining and knocked down both shots from the line to give Hanceville a 49-47 lead and Calvert split a pair of free throws with 47 seconds on the clock to make it a 50-47 game. McBee and Campbell each added a free throw to keep the score at 51-48 with 32 seconds to play. Holly Pond came out of a timeout looking to tie the game or cut into the lead but Calvert stole the ball and took it the other way for the Bulldogs. Calvert was fouled and made one of his free throws to extend the lead to four. A technical foul against the Broncos sent Harris to the line and he added another free throw to make it a 53-48 game. Harris was fouled on the ensuing inbound pass and he sank both free throws to give Hanceville a 7-point lead. Holly Pond continued to battle in the final seconds but couldn’t overcome the late push from the Bulldogs and Hanceville held on to win a thriller over the Broncos 57-50.

Harris led the Bulldogs with 14 points in the win, followed by Calvert and Campbell with 13. Brown finished with 16 points for Holly Pond and Couch added 13.

Hanceville will be back on the court at 7 p.m. Saturday night to face Good Hope in the county championship game.

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