Photo: Hokes Bluff’s Hayden Lipscomb (32) goes up for a basket as Southside’s Colton Morrison (20) and Jordan Grantland (3) defend during the Eagles’ 72-49 win in the Etowah County Schools Tournament championship on Jan. 18 in Sardis City. (Alex Chaney)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Hokes Bluff’s interior and exterior work proved too much for Southside on Jan. 18.
Senior guard Donovan Greaves and senior center Hayden Lipscomb were named co-MVPs as the Eagles defended their Etowah County Schools Tournament championship with a 7-2-49 win over Southside in Sardis City.
Greaves shot 6-for-9 from three-point range on the way to 26 points, while Lipscomb was 12-for-14 from the field on the way to 25 points.
Braydon Hill added nine points as Hokes Bluff (11-9) led 23-8 lead after one quarter, 40-19 at halftime and 52-31 after three quarters.
The Eagles wound up shooting 57 percent (8-for-14) from downtown to Southside’s 29 percent (7-for-24). Hokes Bluff also had the edge in rebounding (28-18) and points in the paint (42 to 20).
The Panthers (8-14) never got closer than 18 points in the second half.
“I asked our guys before the game to play hard and be coachable,” said Hokes Bluff head coach Jeff Noah. “We rebounded the ball pretty well and we defended pretty well and we played together. I wanted us to play as a team and not try to do anything special.”
Lipscomb grabbed nine rebounds, while Braydon Hill pulled down four.
For Southside, Brock Habyan shot 5-for-9 from the three-point line on the way to 19 points.
Blake Habyan finished with 14 points and six rebounds.
“Hokes Bluff was very well prepared,” said Southside head coach Chad Holderfield. “They had a great game plan and executed it very well. I was proud of our guys for really battling and fighting in the second half. But Hokes Bluff’s got a good basketball team and has great players, so give credit to them. We’ve now split four games with them this season, and this rivalry is what it should be with a lot of passion and emotion.”
The Panthers’ finest moment came early in the game when consecutive three-pointers from Brock Habyan gave Southside a 6-2 lead. The Eagles then closed out the first quarter on a 21 to 2 run and never looked back.
Greaves and Lipscomb combined for 33 points in the first half as Hokes Bluff cruised into intermission with a 21-point advantage. Brock Habyan scored 10 of the Panthers’ 12 third-quarter points but Reaves canned two more treys to help the Eagles maintain a 21-point lead heading into the final eight minutes.
“Sometimes we’re more worried about what the name of the team is instead of just playing the game,” said Noah. “Southside is a good team and they’re well-coached, and hats off to them for making it to the finals. I’m just happy that our guys could taste that success again.”
Joining Greaves and Lipscomb on the all-tournament team were Hill, Dylan Teague, Austin Gulledge and Matthew Johnson from Hokes Bluff; Brock Habyan, Blake Habyan and Chris Lengyel from Southside; Jacob Hopper and Alex James from Sardis; Brock Ondo and Bryan Benefield from Glencoe; and Eli Pearce from West End.
In Southside 64-44 win over Glencoe in the tournament semifinals on Jan. 18, Blake Habyan had 12 points and 11 rebounds; Jordan Grantland had 12 points and seven rebounds; Chris Lengyel had nine points and four assists; Tommy Simmons had nine points; Brock Habyan had seven points, seven rebounds and five assists; Colton Morrison had seven points; and Parker Crask had five points and four rebounds.