By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Hokes Bluff is headed for the championship round of the Etowah County High School Basketball Tournament after a 43-37 victory over Southside on Wednesday (Jan. 18) at Glencoe.
The Eagles advanced to play the winner of Thursday’s Glencoe/Sardis semifinal.
Hokes Bluff used a near perfect defensive performance to hold off the Panthers.
“We’re not built for a high scoring game,” said Hokes Bluff head coach Jeff Noah. “We have to limit our turnovers and rely on defense and rebounding. [Southside] Coach [Chad] Holderfield had Southside ready to play, that’s for sure. We’ll get back to work and correct our mistakes and get ready for Friday.”
The first quarter was a defensive standoff, with Southside taking a 9-6 advantage. The second quarter was much the same, with Hokes Bluff taking their first lead at 12-10 with 3:30 to go in the first half. The Eagles extended the lead to 18-14 at halftime.
Hokes Bluff outscored the Panthers 13-7 in the third quarter 13-7 to build a 10-point lead at 31-21 entering the final eight minutes of play.
Southside attempted to mount a comeback but could get no closer than five points at 39-34 with 36 seconds to play. The Eagles hit four free throws during the final seconds to ice the game.
Hayden Lipscomb led Hokes Bluff with 12 points, while Gavin Orr was high man for the Panthers with nine.
“Hokes Bluff is a solid team,” said Holderfield. “They play solid defense and are well coached. I’m proud of our guys for their effort; they didn’t quit.”