Brindlee Mountain’s surging varsity boys basketball team defeated Holly Pond 72-42 to win the Class 3A, Area 13 title last Friday night, but … they won’t host the area tournament as regular-season champs usually do.
That’s because there is nothing usual about high school sports these days in the age of the pandemic (see story below).
Fear not, Lions fans, your team will host one of the area tournament semifinals, probably on Wednesday, Feb. 10. And should it win that game, it would host the area final the following Saturday (Feb. 13).
The Lions finished 5-1 in the area and had a major turnaround in the middle of this strange season. On Jan. 12, Holly Pond won at Brindlee Mountain by 17 points. The Lions didn’t lose in the area again.
No. 2-ranked Susan Moore is the undefeated regular-season area champion on the girls side. The Lady Bulldogs, like the Brindlee Mountain boys, will be at home for any area tournament game they play. The rest of the seedings and sites will be determined during a meeting today between the four Area 13 schools (including also J.B. Pennington).
The AHSAA has the girls semifinals to be played on Tuesday, Feb. 9, and the boys on Wednesday, but there could be some adjustments based on matchups and sites.
Regardless of when the games are played, head coach Seth Kelly’s Lions will be at home – and deservedly so, Kelly said.
“We played well Friday night,” he said. “The guys did a great job taking advantage of the opportunity to do something special for our program.
“It was our best offensive game of the year. We did a good job establishing post play and then playing inside-out.”
Blake Westbrook and Andrew Byars did the damage from outside with each hitting four 3-points and each finishing with 16 points.
Westbrook went 4-for-5 from 3-point range, all in the second half. Ian Garner had a huge game with 11 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Taylor King and Devin Lewis each added eight points. Christian Adams scored seven and Caleb Scott had six.
Brindlee Mountain built a 55-35 lead through three quarters then slammed the door shut with a strong fourth quarter, outscoring the Broncos 17-7.
“This is the third time in 15 years of varsity basketball that we have hosted the area tournament,” Kelly said. “We are excited to keep improving and hope to take advantage of the position that we have put ourselves in for the postseason.”
On Tuesday, the Lions lost at Douglas, 51-39. Byars sank three 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Adams had 10 points, Westbrook seven, Lewis 6 and Scott two.
The Lions are scheduled to play Randoph on Thursday and Valley Head on Friday, both at home.
• VARSITY GIRLS
The Lady Lions had a tougher time than the boys against Holly Pond on Friday but Chantzley Kirkland came up big at the end to help secure a thrilling 45-44 win. The Lady Lions trailed for most of the game, including being down 35-31 after three quarters.
But Kirkland grabbed an offensive rebound and turned it into a put-back with eight seconds left to lift the Lady Lions to victory. Kirkland finished with 16 points.
Kyleigh Wilks added 11 points, Zoie Decker had 10, and Natasha Williams and Adrienne Knepper scored four each.
Against Douglas on Tuesday, Kirkland scored 11 points but the Lady Lions fell 52-42. Knepper added 10 points, Wilks had nine, Kailyn Childress eight and Decker four.
• JV BOYS
The JV boys fell to Holly Pond 53-32 but Gavin Daniel’s play was a highlight. He sank two 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.
John Paul Taymon added eight points, Austin Simmons had six, Colton Hall two and Trent Caviness one.
In a 42-21 loss to Douglas Tuesday night, Daniel had nine points, Hall five, Taymon four and Caviness three.
• JV GIRLS
The Lady Lions lost to Holly Pond 42-16. Alyssa Grider had seven points and Devon Murray had five. They each sank a 3-pointer.
In a 40-15 loss to Douglas on Tuesday, Addi Garmany scored five points, Amber Riggs had three and Grider, Maggie Roberson and Ella Knight each score two.
• George Stone contributed to this report.