By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
“You know, anyone can win this tournament this year.”
These were the words from Glencoe High School boys head basketball coach Jason Gilley after his “Yellow Jackets” had just taken a hard fought 56-51 win over the West End Patriots on Tuesday (Jan. 17) in the Etowah County Tournament quarterfinals at Glencoe.
Glencoe (10-11) will face Sardis on Thursday in the semifinals.
“[West End senior guard] Andre Little is one of the best players we‘ve seen all season,” Gilley added. “Up until the time he got into foul trouble, he was scoring at will.”
Little poured in 18 of his 21 points in the first half as the teams played to a 31-31 standoff.
“[West End] Coach [Clint] Brannon had his team ready to play us tonight,” said Gilley.
The Patriots outscored Glencoe 11-7 in the third quarter to take a 42-38 lead, but by that point, Little had picked up his fourth foul.
Brannon recognized that as the turning point in the game, as the Yellow Jackets went on an 18-9 run down the stretch to pull away.
“We made some mistakes down the stretch, and Andre picking up his fourth foul hurt. But I’m proud of our effort. Give the credit to Glencoe; Coach Gilley had them ready to play.”
Cole Holbrooks led Glencoe with 23 points, followed by Justin Barkley with 16. Little scored 21 points for the Patriots (8-12), followed by Cory Willingham with 14.
The Yellow Jackets took a 16-14 lead after the first eight minutes of play before West End fought back to tie the game at intermission. Little had nine points in each of the first two quarters, driving the lane for several lay-ups and hitting three 3-point baskets from the arc. Holbrooks scored 11 of his 23 points in the first half.