Hanceville Versus Holly Pond Highway 91 War: The Final Battle

Hanceville Versus Holly Pond – Highway 91 War: The Final Battle

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Hanceville Versus Holly Pond – Highway 91 War: The Final Battle

The third and final basketball battle over Highway 91 supremacy in Cullman County occurred Saturday night.

The Hanceville Bulldogs defeated the Holly Pond Broncos 65-59 Saturday night at Tom Drake Coliseum located on the Campus of Wallace State Community College.

Highway 91 connects these two southeastern Cullman County school systems.

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The game began at 7:30 pm.

It ended after 32 hard-fought, game time minutes. Entering the contest, the #5 ranked, Class 3A Broncos had lost in the State of Alabama only twice times this year. While the Broncos quest for another Final Four berth ended abruptly, the Bulldogs’ hopes remain alive.

Hanceville has not won against the Broncos in a very long time.

On Saturday night, the Bulldogs had three primary objectives:

a. Stop the drive
b. Out-rebound the opposition
c. Limit the turnovers

Each objective got accomplished.

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Hanceville’s Bren Flanigan sustained an injury during the third quarter to his finger. A Hanceville Encore trainer came out to treat the injury. She popped it back into place with a lollipop still in her mouth. She made it look like she’d done such a thing a hundred times before.

After the game, Flanigan had to say about the injury:

“Well when I saw it like it really didn’t hurt that bad. But when you see it like curling; it was broke out. I was like ‘Oh my goodness.’ But after she popped it back, I just felt like I was like this is my senior year and I just got to get back in and win it for my team.”

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Damion Johnson had perhaps the game’s biggest moment in the fourth quarter. He drew an “and +1” foul to extend the Hanceville lead back up to six points in an otherwise close battle.

The Bulldogs and Broncos tangled twice during the regular season. It is an infrequent occasion to have two intra-county teams to play each other at a venue like this one (Regional Tournament), regardless of home county.

The dominate Broncos have been in the 3A Top 10 for the past several years. Many believed they would prevail for a third time this year against the Bulldogs.

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Hanceville Coach Daniel Wakefield had to say about the Bulldogs, after they went up by 11 points:

“I started to believe, and I think that the more that I started to believe, that they started to believe that we could get it done. I saw it in their eyes going into the fourth quarter. They weren’t going to lose the game.”

The last time Hanceville made it to the Elite 8 – when they advanced to the Final Four – was almost two decades ago in 1999.

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Holly Pond Coach Mitch Morris had to say to after the game:

“Definitely was not the way that we wanted to end this season. Of course, our goals and plans were to make it back to Birmingham [Final Four], and we have done everything to this point to put us on that path. We faced a really good Hanceville team tonight. We had played them twice this year and beat them both times. We have had some success over Hanceville [over] the years.

 

They just outplayed us tonight. They made more shots then we did. And they got us out of our rhythm. And on offense, they had guys that made shots all night. Every time that we had a little bit of a run, we would mess up (bad shot), they would come down and knock down a shot. So, I give a lot to Coach Wakefield and his group a lot of, they came out and ready to play, and they played well. “

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After the horn sounded, Griffin Morris said:

“It means a lot. We proved a lot of people wrong by the way that we played this year. And it just means a lot to our program for how we handled our self.”

Morris had hit 11 of 12 from the line. In this venue, that is pretty clutch:

“It is something that I work on a lot. But this year I have struggled. But it is something that I have concentrated on.”

The difference in the game was the 2nd quarter won by the Bulldogs, scoring fifteen points over Holly Pond’s nine points.

Hanceville’s largest lead was by eleven points with 3:36 to go in the third quarter. The game was tied four times; the lead changed twelve times.

Scoring for the Bulldogs was Junior Zeke McDonald (#3) racking up a total of 14 points, with six points coming from outside of the arc.

Morris’s son, Griffin, hit a total of 24 points of the Broncos’ fifty-nine.

The Bulldogs advance to play in the Northwest Regional Finals, Wednesday at 2:15 pm versus Lauderdale County.

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Mr. Kanaday is the first Cullman area student accepted into the Cullman Today School of Journalism. He is a student at Hanceville High School, and the proprietor of Cullman County Athletics.

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Hanceville Versus Holly Pond – Highway 91 War: The Final Battle

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Tom Drake Coliseum

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Hanceville Versus Holly Pond – Highway 91 War: The Final Battle

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Staff Writers

The staff writers at Cullman Today are a collaborative group of citizen reporters sharing the writing of stories based upon their personal interests and work schedules.

The staff writers at Cullman Today are a collaborative group of citizen reporters sharing the writing of stories based upon their personal interests and work schedules.