• Gilmer’s David Smith (30) cuts through the lane as Bobcat alumni (clockwise from top left) Travis Taylor, Dennis Jones, Bobby Teague and Branson Chastain converge.
    Gilmer’s David Smith (30) cuts through the lane as Bobcat alumni (clockwise from top left) Travis Taylor, Dennis Jones, Bobby Teague and Branson Chastain converge.

GHS Bobcats fend off late alumni rally

The Bobcat alumni basketball game got a little testy in the second half as current Gilmer High players clung to their lead over former players.

While the alumni pulled within three points with three minutes to play, the Bobcats made enough free throws down the stretch for a 68-59 victory.

Current GHS head coach Jordan Hice suited up for the alumni squad and discussed the game afterward.

“Hopefully, this is something where everybody can come in and have fun,” he said. “You don’t ever want anybody to get mad, but it happens sometimes with frustrations, and I can be one of the worst ones.” 

In the end, Hice noted the game is for the community and serves as a method to keep former players involved with the program.

“This is something fun for the parents and a way to get the community involved and let them see what we’re trying to do,” he said. “You get the older players (alumni) out here, and they get to know the current players, and you always hope they (alumni) come back out and watch some games (during the season).”

Tripp Pierce was the Bobcats’ go-to scorer in the opening quarter. The rising senior netted 13 points in 4:39 as the Cats enjoyed an early 17-8 advantage.

Hice attacked the lane often, drawing contact for repeated fouls and points from the line in the first quarter. Fellow alumni Jody Cantrell and Branson Chastain knocked down three-pointers, and GHS held a 24-14 lead.

Bobcat Kell Weaver scored two quick baskets to begin the second and added one from the line on Gilmer’s next trip down the court.

Patrick Burnett made the next alumni three, and Dennis Jones added two in the post. The alumni combined to shoot seven of eight from the free-throw line over a two-minute stretch to cut the deficit to nine points.

Rising senior Coady Cobb scored five in the second, and made a three-pointer on the Bobcats’ final possession of the half.

GHS took a 42-28 lead into the third before the alumni began to chip away.

Cobb sank his second three of the game to begin the second half. However, a 12-2 alumni run aided by two Cantrell treys kept the older Cats within nine points. 

David Smith and Weaver ended the alumni run, but the former Bobcats scored six straight to close out the third, down, 52-45.

The alumni continued to use free throws to their advantage in the final quarter, and the Bobcats got some long-range assistance from Pierce and Smith.

The score stood at 60-52 in the Bobcats’ favor with 3:41 to play. It appeared the game was in hand, but the alumni received a five-point possession. Hice was fouled on a drive, and nephew Carter Hice received a technical moments later.

Jordan Hice made three of four from the line and the alumni also received possession. A long two by Bobby Teague cut the Cats’ lead to 60-57.

Teague later hit another jumper for the final alumni points. 

Smith drained a three before converting three of six free throws. Carter Hice tallied Gilmer’s final points in transition as they won by nine.

Times Courier

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