Haas leads Hokes Bluff boys past Glencoe

Hokes Bluff’s Isaac Haas drives on Glencoe’s Scott Bradley during Friday night’s game. (Photo by Nick Johnston | Gadsden Times)

GLENCOE — Glencoe took Class 4A, No. 9 Hokes Bluff to the edge, but the Eagles rallied late for a 38-34 win Friday to remain undefeated in boys high school basketball.

The Eagles (5-0) trailed by four points in the fourth quarter before a 12-2 run staked them to a lead they clung to until the tense end.

Isaac Haas, who missed most of the first half because of foul trouble, scored

6 points in the deciding run. He led Hokes Bluff with 14 points.

“It was a physical game on both ends,” Hokes Bluff coach Greg Watkins said.

“Both teams struggled offensively and did a really good job defensively. We got down, but we found a way to score and to get stops. It speaks a lot to the character of the team.”

Glencoe (2-3) led for most of the third quarter and the first few minutes of the fourth. Anthony Morris scored early in the final period to lift the Yellow Jackets to a 28-24 lead. After that, the Eagles found some offense in a game where there was little. Matthew Watkins and Haas scored to tie it up, then Brad Robertson’s bucket put Hokes Bluff ahead 30-28 with just under 4:00 left in the game. The lead was the first for the Eagles since early in the third quarter.

After a pair of Austin Hancock free throws tied it again, the 7-foot-2 Haas scored consecutive short jumpers, giving the Eagles a 34-30 lead with 2:08 remaining. Hokes Bluff got a few defensive stops, and Matthew Watkins knocked down a pair of free throws with 34 seconds to play that pushed the margin to six.

Hancock scored four in a row, with an Ingram free throw sandwiched between for the Eagles, cutting the Hokes Bluff edge to 37-34 with 5 seconds left, but it was Glencoe’s last points. Tanner Shields sank a free throw with 3 seconds on the clock to seal the victory for Hokes Bluff.

“These guys know each other so well, and you wanna win this game because they’re a good basketball team more so than because they’re a rivalry,” Eagles coach Greg Watkins said. “When you beat them, you know you’ve done something because they’re fundamentally sound and their kids play hard, just like ours do.”

The first half, like the second half, was a seesaw of momentum. The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 6-2 lead following a four-point play by Morris. The Eagles managed to cut it to 12-10 on a three by Charlie Reed with 25 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Defense dominated the second quarter. Glencoe put 4 points on the board, while Hokes Bluff scored 7 to lead 17-16 at halftime.

The third quarter was more of the same, and Glencoe led the entire way after Scott Bradley put Glencoe on the board coming out of the break. Morris hit a three to push the Glencoe edge to 21-17, but Hokes Bluff managed to battle within one, 23-22, following a pair of free throws by Brack Shields.