Photo: Glencoe High’s Cam Harris (14) drives past Hokes Bluff’s Braydon Hill (left) and Peyton Moore during the Eagles’ 63-46 win in the semifinals of the Etowah County boys basketball tournament on Thursday (Jan. 18) at Hokes Bluff. (Gary Wells)
By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Hokes Bluff earned a spot in the Etowah County boys high school basketball tournament with a 63-46 win over defending champion Glencoe on Thursday (Jan. 18) night in Hokes Bluff.
The Eagles’ Donovan Greaves hit his first of seven 3-pointers of the night – including six in the first half – as he finished with a game-high 24 points on 7-9 shooting from downtown.
Hokes Bluff led 16-9 after the opening quarter and exploded offensively in the second. Greaves and Landon Johnson led the way, and Hokes Bluff led the Yellow Jackets 39-20 at the half.
The third quarter wasn’t nearly as productive on offense for the Eagles, but Glencoe also struggled offensively and couldn’t capitalize on Hokes Bluff’s turnovers and shooting woes. The Eagles led 46-30 heading into the fourth quarter, and the Yellow Jackets couldn’t generate enough offense to sustain a late fourth quarter rally.
Hokes Bluff coach Jeff Noah said his team was too stagnant on offense after halftime.
“We dribbled the ball too much and played too much 1-on-1 instead of moving the ball with a purpose on offense,” Noah said. “You can’t do that. We got stagnant, and therefore we didn’t have an offense.”
The Eagles will take on the winner of Southside and Sardis in the championship game on Saturday, Jan. 20 at Hokes Bluff.
Noah said he felt like Glencoe was able to get to the rim too easily and that he wants to see his team improve defensively on Saturday.
“[Glencoe] still got to the rim too much,” he said. “We have to do a better job of moving our feet and cutting them off. We did put some pressure on them. Our length sometimes bothers people shooting the ball, and normally we rebound the ball better than we did. Give [Glencoe] credit. They played hard and they kept battling.
“Rebounding and running the break, that’s what we try to do. Even if we don’t get points off of it, we still try and get us an easier look on offense. I thought at times we did that but at times we were stagnant. I’m a simple coach. I like to keep things simple. Ball fake and make a pass.”
Hayden Lipscomb scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Eagles, while Johnson scored 13 points and snagged six rebounds. Braydon Hill pulled in a game-high 10 rebounds.
Cam Harris led Glencoe with 12 points, while Brandon Bishop chipped in seven.
Noah said his team needs to play well for all four quarters if they are going to win the county championship.
“We can’t give up that many offensive rebounds and win,” he said. “We can’t play half of a basketball game. Again, give Glencoe credit, because their kids kept playing. But you’ve got to be consistent. You can’t have lulls like we did in the second half and be good.”