Thomasville High School got its Christmas wish.
The Bulldogs are back in the championship game of the Holiday Hoopfest.
Sparked by an intense defensive effort, Thomasville downed Brooks County 65-43 on Friday in the semifinal round of the 18th annual State Farm/Seminole Wind Holiday Hoopfest to reach tonight’s championship game against Randolph-Clay, a 68-36 winner against Bainbridge. The title bout is slated for an 8:30 p.m. tip.
“I think we did a really good job, especially on that defensive end,” THS coach Ben Tillman said. “Our team is starting to learn where the stops are and where the traps are in our zone trapping schemes.”
That defensive effort helped Thomasville pull away in the second half after the visiting Trojans overcame a slow start to pull within 28-22 at intermission. The Bulldogs then stretched the lead to 43-33 heading into the fourth and THS continued to pull away from there.
But the source for that defensive effort came from the desire to contend for a championship, Tillman said.
“We really entered the tournament wanting to play for the championship,” he said. “This team hasn’t played for a championship, so that’s special.
“Region play is about playing back-to-back and putting together good efforts. So far, we’ve been able to come back and put play well back-to-back to get to this championship game.”
Thomasville certainly played well at the start of Friday’s semifinal.
Thomasville held Brooks without a point for more than four minutes to open Friday’s semifinal game as it raced out to the double-digit lead. The Bulldogs’ early onslaught got off to a rousing start when Quinton Addison threw down a two-handed dunk off an alley-oop pass from Henri Abrams just 10 seconds into the game. A putback from Addison finished off the early run.
Addison, Abrams and Andrew Parker all scored six points in the first half to lead Thomasville.
Leading 13-2 with 2:28 left in the first following a Trevarious Wimberly purback, the Bulldogs didn’t score again until 37 seconds into the second quarter which allowed Brooks to claw within one. The Trojans closed the first half on a 9-0 run to pull within 13-11 as Tavist Mobley hit a pair of 3-pointers in the run.
Thomasville, which never trailed in the first half, pushed the lead back to eight on two occasions — 25-17 on an Abrams jumper, and 28-20 on a Jordan Willis free throw — but the Bulldogs couldn’t shake the Trojans. Art Slater had a game-high eight points in the half to lead Brooks, which also received seven points from Mobley.