Photo: Glencoe High’s Anna Beth Giles (4) drives to the basket as Hokes Bluff’s Bailee Latronico (21) looks on during the Lady Yellow Jackets’ 67-60 victory in girls high school basketball on Monday (Dec. 2) at GHS. (Courtesy of Gary Wells)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
After leading by double digits for three quarters, Glencoe weathered a late Hokes Bluff rally to post a 67-60 victory in girls high school basketball on Monday (Dec. 2) at GHS.
It was the Lady Yellow Jackets’ fourth straight victory over their Etowah County neighbor, a streak going back to Nov. 30, 2017.
Anna Beth Giles scored 10 of her team-high 18 points in the first half as Glencoe (5-1) ran out to a 19-point lead with three minutes remaining before halftime. Hokes Bluff (2-4) went scoreless for almost seven minutes, a span that lasted from late in the first quarter to midway through the second period. By the time Maddie Smith banked in a jump shot with 3:35 left in the first half, the Lady Eagles trailed 25-8.
Smith’s basket was one of only six field goals for the visitors during the second quarter, and Crimson Silvey’s three-point basket with five seconds left sent the Lady Jackets into the locker room with a 32-15 advantage.
“We sort of panicked [during] the first four or five minutes of the game,” said Hokes Bluff head coach Jason Shields. “You don’t want to spot [Glencoe] 15 points right away, but that’s what might have caused us to play so hard.”
The Lady Eagles regrouped at halftime and outscored Glencoe 18-11 during the third frame. Smith’s two free throws at the three-minute mark kick-started a 7-3 stretch that narrowed the gap to 43-33 at the start of the fourth quarter.
“[Hokes Bluff] played the third quarter the way they wanted, and we pretty much played the rest of the game the way we wanted,” said Glencoe head coach Jamie Barkley. “It’s always physical when we play Hokes Bluff, and we did not have patience and we got out of our rhythm (in the third quarter). It also didn’t help that two of my best guards were in foul trouble.”
Both teams were in the double-bonus free throw situation shortly into the final period, which Shields said helped his team’s comeback attempt.
“We didn’t settle for 3’s and we started attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line in the third quarter,” he said.
Madi Wolfe’s free throw at 6:43 of the fourth drew the Lady Eagles within single digits for the first time at 49-40. From there on out, Glencoe scored 16 of its final 18 points via the foul line. The Lady Jackets shot 16-for-25 (65 percent) at the charity stripe over the final six minutes.
Hokes Bluff twice got within nine points down the stretch, including Wolfe’s trey with 19 seconds left that made it 66-57, but Abby Vice’s free throw with 10 seconds left put the game out of reach, Jayden Presley’s three-pointer at the buzzer for Hokes Bluff essentially served as window dressing.
Morgan finished with 17 points, followed by Aubrey Gray with nine and Silvey, Anna Grace Goodwin and Abby Vice each with six.
Barkley pointed to her team’s mental lapses as a major factor of why Hokes Bluff kept within striking distance in the second half.
“In the first half we did exactly what we wanted to do. In the second half, [Hokes Bluff] put a little pressure on us, which we dealt with, but then we rushed some shots. We had several one-shot possessions, and they were not quality shots. It was poor shot selection, and we’re better than that.”
Maddie Smith paced Hokes Bluff with 18 points, including 14 in the second half. Wolfe contributed 17 points, followed by Kenzie Bates with seven and Presley with six.
“When we got behind, we had to change the pace of the game,” said Shields. “Madi and Maddie stepped up, and if we can get 18 or 17 [points] out of them every night, we’ll be all right. I’m not a moral victory type of guy, but we had a lot of positives that came out of tonight. We got some quality baskets and some points off our press. We also had a chance to give up, and we didn’t. As long as we keep our heads up and keep getting better, I don’t care what our record is. We want to win our area games and be competitive in tournaments.”