By Chris McCarthy/Editor
It’s one win in the books and two to go for the Hokes Bluff High boys basketball team in the Etowah County Tournament.
Sparked by a standout effort from senior center Isaac Hass, the No. 4 seed and Class 4A No. 9 Eagles (17-5) posted a 60-37 win over No. 5 seed Glencoe in the tournament’s opening round on Monday (Jan. 13) at Gadsden State.
The Yellow Jackets had little answer for the 7’2” Haas under the basket, as he finished with 26 points, many of them slam dunks. He also grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked four shots.
Hokes Bluff faces No. 1 seed Southside on Wednesday (Jan. 15) in the semifinal round.
Haas scored 15 of his points in the first half as the Eagles built an 11-point halftime lead. He left the game midway through the fourth quarter after his six straight points provided Hokes Bluff with a 24-point cushion.
“Isaac has gotten so much better from last year,” said Hokes Bluff head coach Greg Watkins. “The biggest part is that as he’s gotten bigger and stronger, he’s more in control of his body. He can play physical without being foolish, and that’s really made a difference. He’s more athletic and he’s worked hard in the weight room, and it shows.”
Sophomore guard Kaden Moore also had a big game with 18 points.
“Kaden has really played well of late,” said Watkins. “He’s got a really nice three-point shot, he can take it to the rim and if he needs to, he can play with his back to the goal.”
Also for the Eagles, Hunter Thompson contributed five assists and four steals.
Haas made his presence felt early on, scoring nine of Hokes Bluff’s first 11 points.
Dylan Stone scored six of his 12 points in the initial frame to keep Glencoe close.
Moore’s layup and three-point basket in the period’s final minute gave the Eagles an 18-10 lead.
Dillon Tidmore’s basket midway through the second quarter pulled the Yellow Jackets within 23-18, but Hokes Bluff ended the first half with six straight points for a 29-18 lead at intermission.
The Eagles led by double digits the rest of the way. A 16-5 spurt helped Hokes Bluff go up 46-23 after three quarters, while Moore notched seven of his team’s final nine points in the fourth.
Tidmore added 10 points for Glencoe.
“Our effort has been outstanding over our last several games,” said Watkins. “Our guys are playing as hard as they can possibly play right now. Southside’s guards are very, very good, and Coach [Chad] Holderfield does a great job. They’re a good 5A school, so it’s going to be a tough game.”