The Holly girls basketball team opened 2014 with an impressive 28 point win at Brandon. Since then the Brandon Blackhawks have reeled off five straight wins. The Blackhawks came to the Horseshoe Friday night looking to make amends. They did for the first half before the Bronchos used a 16-2 effort in the third quarter to pull away at home with a 38-21 win.
Holly didn’t play poorly in the first half. The Bronchos were really tough defensively, garnering six steals in the first quarter alone. They did well on the boards as well. But Brandon defended well and the Bronchos, when they did have some open looks at the basket, failed to convert. Brandon let 9-4 at the end of the first quarter. Holly bounced back with a 9-4 effort of its own and the teams entered the locker room tied at 13. But, that all changed in the second half.
Holly sharpshooter, sophomore Kaitlyn Smith, struggled in the first half. She quickly remedied that only 12 seconds into the second half with a pretty 3-pointer to put the Bronchos on top at 16-13. The Bronchos then went on to out score the Blackhawks 16-2 in the third quarter and quash any Brandon hopes of an upset.
Holly center Alyssa Copley had an explanation for the slow start.
“I don’t think it helped that we didn’t get to play on Tuesday.” Certainly with so many cancelations due to this horrendous Michigan winter to forget, every team might appear a bit rusty.
Copley, bound for Cleveland State in the fall, led all scorers with 14 points. She added 11 rebounds, four blocks and a steal to an impressive all-around performance in the paint.
Holly junior sixth man, Brooke Jackman, had eight points. Not a huge tally, but her timing was impeccable. She ended both the second and third quarters with an offensive board and a put back at the buzzer. Not unlike a hockey game, a last-second score provides added emotion to the team scoring it and tends to deflate the opponent. Tonight was no different.
“We just try to box out,” said Jackman. “That is really key.” Jackman finished the night with seven rebounds in minutes limited not only by her coming off the bench but also due to Holly’s comfortable margin in the second half and Coach David Hall’s playing 11 players.
Brandon coach Andrew Teberian, while not pleased with the end result, had no problem with his girl’s effort.
“That seems to be the tale every time we play these guys. The kids are excited to play these guys because they are one of the top teams in Oakland County, if not the state. I don’t think it is a matter of intimidation. We come in and we play hard. We just have to find a way to make some plays.”
Blackhawks senior Amanda Harvard led Brandon with 11 points, most of those coming as the visitors were giving Holly all it could handle in the first half.
"We didn’t come out with the intensity we should have in the second half," Harvard said. "I just hope that we come back (from this) so we can kick some (derriere).”
Hall explained the troubles Holly had in the first half. “We were getting good shots. We only turned the ball over four times in the first half.” He told the girls during halftime that the shots would start going in in the second half. A 16-2 third quarter made a minor prophet out of the Bronchos’ coach.
Brandons’ Brooke Becker and Rachel D’Alio each had four points. The improving Blackhawks fell to 5-4 in the Flint Metro League and 6-6 overall.
Holly kept its record spotless at 13-0, with 10 of those wins in league play. The Bronchos host a struggling Lapeer East team on Tuesday at the Horseshoe.