Hokes Bluff girls beat Gaston 53-21 to set up showdown with Southside


Hokes Bluff’s Keisha Chapman drives to the basket against Gaston’s Katilyn Glass during Friday’s game. (Photo by Dave Hyatt | Gadsden Times)


The Hokes Bluff girls high school basketball team finally put it all together. Now the Eagles hope they can keep it together for the biggest game of the season so far.

Hokes Bluff defeated Gaston 53-21 in the semifinals of the Etowah County tournament Friday night, setting up a showdown with Southside for the championship.

Eagles (11-9) coach Jason Shields said he hadn’t gotten a complete-game effort out of his team all season. It’s come in quarters, but not for an entire game until Friday night.

“Out of a scale from one to 10, I’d have to say an eight or a nine,” said Shields, whose Eagles are the defending tournament champions. “This bunch has always been the type when they get to something that means something, they step up.”

Southside now stands in the way of back-to-back championships for Hokes Bluff. The title game is set for 6 tonight. The teams have met once this season with Southside getting a 59-55 win at home.

“Southside’s a lot more high-octane than us,” Shields said. “We’ve got people who are good defensive players that’s becoming good offensive players. They’ve got five good offensive players and five good defensive players.

“We’re going to have to play really good to play with them.”

Friday’s game at Beck Field House on the campus of Gadsden State never was in doubt.

Hokes Bluff took an 11-9 lead into the second quarter but stretched its advantage to 25-14 by halftime. The Eagles used a halfcourt trap and solid outside shooting after Gaston (8-11) switched to a 3-2 zone to take control of the game. Carlie Shields, who scored a game-high 19 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists, sparked a 12-2 run with a 3-pointer at the 5:52 mark of the second. She then got three points the old-fashioned way, making a layup while being fouled and hitting the free throw. Keisha Chapman’s 3-pointer gave Hokes Bluff a 22-10 advantage before Gaston’s Abby Elrod, who scored a team-high 10 points, made a jumper to end the Bulldogs’ scoring drought.

Katy Alford added another 3-pointer to cap the run with 36 seconds remaining until halftime.

“They were in foul trouble,” Shields said. “We’ve got about four or five that can shoot it. We got some open looks and we made them.”

Gaston pulled within 25-18 to open the third quarter after forcing Hokes Bluff into three straight turnovers. But the Eagles bounced back, using an 11-0 run in a 2:24 span. They got two 3-pointers from Chapman and layups by Elizabeth White and Hannah Evans — who also made a free throw. Both White and Evans scored seven points, with White grabbing 11 rebounds and Evans getting six boards.

Hokes Bluff carried a 41-21 lead into the fourth quarter and put it in cruise control from there. The Eagles’ defense didn’t allow a point in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 12-0 in the final eight minutes.

Chapman scored 10 points in the win and Alford added six points. Kierra Porter scored five points for the Bulldogs.