Hokes Bluff beats West End 54-26, reaches county tourney finals


Hokes Bluff's Isaac Haas pulls down a rebound against West End on Friday. (Photo by Dave Hyatt | Gadsden Times)


Class 4A, No. 6 Hokes Bluff jumped on West End early, fought off a rally and pulled away for a 54-26 win in the semifinals of the Etowah County boys high school basketball tournament Friday at Gadsden State’s Beck Field House.

The Eagles (15-4) led by as many as 17 points in the first quarter before the Patriots chipped away at the lead through the second and third quarters. West End closed the gap to 27-19 in the third before Hokes Bluff ran away with it over the final quarter and a half.

“West End has been playing some really good basketball and coach (Clint) Brannon has done a great job with them,” Hokes Bluff coach Greg Watkins said. “We wanted to come out quick and get a lead early and I was proud of them for doing that. We hit a spell where we didn’t score, but we had a comfortable lead, which was big.”

Aside from a stretch late in the second quarter and early in the third, the Patriots (10-9) had trouble getting shots to fall. Brannon credited a large part of that to the opposition.

“We didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight, but you’ve got to give them (Hokes Bluff) a lot of credit,” he said.

“They’re a really good defensive team. We knew that going in, we were just hoping a few more would fall.”

It seemed the Eagles would have little trouble from the game’s start. Isaac Haas, who finished with a game-high 19 points and added seven rebounds, scored the first six points of the game. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Brad Robertson and Tanner Shields along with a basket from Brack Shields staked Hokes Bluff to a 14-0 lead. The Patriots stopped the scoring run on a pair of free throws by Caleb Mayo with 2:07 left in the first, and trailed 19-4 entering the second quarter.

West End scored the first six points of the second quarter to cut the margin to nine. Hokes Bluff then rattled off seven consecutive points to make it a 26-10 game at halftime.

The lead quickly shrunk as the Patriots went on a 9-1 run to cut it to 27-19 early in the third quarter. That was as close as West End got, though.

Jake Ingram’s 3-pointer capped a 22-4 spurt that extended into the fourth quarter and put Hokes Bluff ahead 49-23. The run ended any hopes of a Patriots comeback. The lone score in the fourth for the Patriots came on a three by Anthony Moody that stopped the Hokes Bluff scoring streak.

Tanner Shields and Nick Woodruff each scored eight points for Hokes Bluff. Robertson added seven points. Mayo’s 14 points led West End.

The Eagles will face Southside today at 7:30 p.m. in the championship game.