NORTHWEST REGIONAL TOURNAMENT (2A GIRLS): Holly Pond falls to No. 2 Mars Hill Bible 60-34
Feb. 20—HANCEVILLE — Holly Pond met its match on Monday, falling to Mars Hill Bible 60-34 in the Class 2A Northwest Regional Tournament at Wallace State's Tom Drake Coliseum.
Mars Hill Bible took command early, surging ahead 18-5 after the first quarter and increasing its lead to 34-15 at halftime.
The No. 2 Lady Panthers continued to control the contest in the second half, using their big size advantage to ultimately outrebound the Green and White 48-18 and finish with 19 second-chance points.
With the outcome in hand late, Holly Pond's Maddi Ham, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury earlier this year, entered the clash and — in a great show of sportsmanship — was offered a few chances to sink a 3-pointer with less than a minute to play. Fittingly, the senior drained her final attempt just before time expired.
Mars Hill Bible (23-5) will face off against No. 5 Sulligent in the championship game on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.
Holly Pond, meanwhile, produced a 15-16 record in Mary Hartline's first season on the bench, returning to regionals for the first time since 2019. The Lady Broncos graduate just three seniors — Ham, Bai Widner and Samantha Giles — and return several key contributors off this year's young squad.
Holly Pond: Maggie Nail (7), Madison Butts (7), Maycie Black (4)
Mars Hill Bible: Belle Hill (30), Kadence Rolston (10), Emma Kate Wright (7)
"We knew it would be a learning curve as far as the season went. We definitely had some ups and downs, but we finished strong and had some good moments today. Mars Hill is a very talented team and very big. We definitely struggled with that matchup, but I was really proud of the girls for the effort they played with no matter the score. I definitely think that'll keep us on right track for the next several years." — Mary Hartline
"The girls want to get better and work hard. That's something that's great to walk into as a coach. As far as me, it definitely took some adjusting. Going from a head coach to an assistant took some adjusting. And then to go back ... over the summer and the first part of the season, it took a while for everything to come back to me." — Mary Hartline
"(Getting to regionals) definitely makes me want to work harder, because I don't want to stop at the Sweet 16 — I want to go far. It's a great opportunity for us." — Maggie Nail
Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 236 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.