Minutes after Weaver fell 87-78 to Holly Pond for the second straight year in the Class 3A Northeast Regional boys semifinal at Jacksonville State, Hamby chose not to focus on the loss. Instead, he spoke about the careers of his two senior leaders, Timothy Hawkins and Chris English.
English scored a game-high 29 points and added 12 rebounds against Holly Pond, while Hawkins scored 12 points and recorded seven boards.
“What I told them in the locker room is either way, it’s going to end in the next two weeks,” Hamby said. "I’ll never be able to coach them anymore, and that’s what’s sad for me.
“I say this, and it’s hard for people to understand, they’re better people that players. I’ve had a lot of great players that I’ve coached, but I’ll truly miss these guys.”
English didn’t go down without a fight, giving the Broncos problems throughout the first half, scoring 23 points before halftime.
“I just knew it was either win or go home, and I didn’t want to go home this early,” English said. “I tried to come out and play aggressive and play with confidence.”
Hawkins battled Holly Pond’s Austin Smith and Gunter Morris in the lane throughout the game, but Hamby said the difference in the game was Weaver not taking advantage of Holly Pond's two post players being on the bench in foul trouble in the third quarter.
“That’s my fault,” Hamby said. “I should have got us in better position and had us do some different things.”
Holly Pond still wound up winning the rebound battle 42-37, as Broncos guards Colby Adams (25 points, five rebounds) and Gunter Morris (21 points, 12 rebounds, five steals) helped carry the load. Forward Austin Smith still managed 14 points and eight rebounds.
Holly Pond was able to work back from a 47-42 deficit at halftime to lead 61-60 heading to the fourth. The two teams swapped the lead six times early in the final period before Holly Pond's Cody Jones scored a basket for a 69-67 lead with 4:49 to play. The Broncos never trailed again, scoring eight straight in the final minute to turn a three-point advantage to 11.
“Being as old as me, you’ve seen it happen before,” Hamby said. “I think we gave up a little too quickly on each other. You never know what’s going to happen, and they could have missed free throws, but they’re a very good free-throw shooting team.”
Paul Hubbard scored 16 points for Weaver (16-7), and Delo Forbes added nine.
Holly Pond (24-9) will face Saks in the 3A regional finals Saturday at 2 p.m. Saks defeated Geraldine 74-49 in the semifinals.
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.