Something about Monday’s MLK game against No. 2 Class 3A Cottage Hill was eerily similar for Spanish Fort and coach Jimbo Tolbert.
“Last year around this time we went to Fairhope,” he said. “They were ranked No. 1 and were undefeated. We managed to win that game and came out of it thinking, “OK, this team has a legitimate chance to bring home some gear at the end of the year.
“Today was that kind of game. Cottage Hill is very highly ranked. They beat us earlier in the year. We thought if we could come out and make a statement, maybe that could be us. inspire us to play our best basketball when we need it most.
Colby McCallister sparked an 11-0 run to end the first half and Kolby Horace scored 25 of his 29 points in the second half as the No. 5 Class 6A Toros held off Cottage Hill 68-60 in a special holiday showcase at Bishop State.
Spanish Fort improved to 16-6 and will host Robertsdale at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday night. Cottage Hill fell to 21-5. The Warriors beat the Toros 75-71 on November 10.
“You have to think if we can bottle this up today we have a chance to get back into the last four,” Tolbert said.
Cottage Hill scored the game’s first eight points and led most of the first half before Spanish Fort’s late run. McAllister, a Citadel signee, scored seven points in his team’s 11-0 run to end the second quarter. The Toros, who had led by up to nine points, led 25-22 at the break. McAllister finished with 19.
Despite several runs from Cottage Hill, the Toros never let go of the lead in the last two quarters thanks to Horace and Tyler Wigley. Wigley hit five 3-pointers — four in the second half — to finish with 15 points. Horace used a series of acrobatic layups to keep his team in front and finished the match with a layup and a long 3 at the buzzer. Even before the 3 entered, he had turned to the crowd to blow them a kiss.
“Kolby was just 3 seconds earlier,” Tolbert said. “I told him early on, ‘You can’t have a 30 or 40 point game with one or two shots. You have to go attack the rim, put the whistle in the hands of the referees and see if you can get any points. easily from the foul line. He started doing that, and when you attack the rim, it opens things up for the other guys.
Trent Thomas led Cottage Hill with 26 points. Josh Bell followed with 17 and Tyler Thomas with 11.
Spanish Fort led by no less than 16 in the second half before Cottage Hill charged in the final two minutes to cut the deficit to 63-60 with 25 seconds left.
St. Luke 61, Vigor 54
BJ Cooks scored nine of 22 points in the fourth quarter as St. Luke’s (13-6) held off Vigor at Bishop State.
The game was tied 35-35 after three quarters before the Wildcats took control.
JT Busby scored 15 points and Mike Myles added 13 for St. Luke’s.
Vigor’s Larry Ruffin led all scorers with 25. Kris Agee had 9.
Blount 43, Faith Academy 40
Trey Broadhead hit a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left as the Leopards survived against Faith.
Faith’s LJ Holifield hit a potentially equal 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left, but coach Chad Applin had called a timeout just before.
A final 3 at the buzzer was not good.
AJ Robinson scored 11 for the Leopards. Broadhead and Charles Esters each had 10.
Devon Carter had 17 for Faith (13-10).
Hartselle 71, Auburn 61: Hartselle improved to 14-10 with victory at the George Hatchett Classic at Vestavia Hills High School on Monday. Class 6A Hartselle pushed a 14-12 first-quarter lead to a 33-22 halftime advantage on their way to victory over 7A Auburn.
Luke Ward led the winners with 21 points – 15 from 3 points. Dominic Simmons scored 15. Ryan Dunn added 13 and Kiah Key scored 11, including 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
JA Carr led Auburn with 25 points, making 10 straight free shots before missing his final attempt from the line. Carter Davis and Caden Brown scored 8 points each.
BallN Prep MLK Classic at Hoover
Lee-Huntsville 67, Greensboro 12: Class 5A top-ranked Lee (18-4) led 18-3 after one quarter and 38-8 at halftime in the MLK Classic win at Hoover.
Limaya Batimba and London Harris each scored 14 points, with Batimba adding 8 rebounds and 4 steals and Harris contributing 3 steals and 4 assists. Jazella Burns had 12 points and 9 rebounds and Jada Colley scored 10 points.
Hazel Green 62, Pleasant Grove 35: Hazel Green, the top-ranked Class 6A, improved to 23-0 on the year with the MLK Classic win at Hoover.
Nyla Collier had 24 points and 2 steals to lead the Trojans. Alabama State signing Samiya Steele had 10 points and 7 assists. Leah Brooks scored 8 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
Tonya Smith scored 11 points to lead Class 5A No. 4 Pleasant Grove and Aviana Mosely scored 8 points.
Hoover 73, Carver (Ga.) 47: A 23-9 first quarter lead was all the top-ranked Class 7A Bucs needed to win while hosting the MLK Classic.
Aniya Hubbard scored 17 points to lead Hoover (21-2) while Lina Kouchis had 14 points, including 4 from 3 points.
McGill-Toolen 62, Pace, Florida 48: Junior Lindsey Cox scored a game-high 19 points on his way to earning MVP at the Gulf Coast MLK Dream Keeper Showcase at West Florida High School.
Lucy Cox and Anna Reed McNeece both added 12 points for McGill-Toolen (16-7) who host the Citronnelle region opponent at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Saint John Paul II 60, Grissom 23: The Falcons improved their record to 15-6 this season with the win over 7A Grissom.
Jasmine Hall and Ashlyn Plott scored 13 points each to lead JPII. Hope Harrell had 7 rebounds to lead the Falcons.
Deanna Moore scored 9 points to lead Grissom.
This story will be updated