West Point's Kolton Sapp racked up 33 points in the Warriors' 79-76 win over Cullman Friday night. (Martha Needham for The Cullman Tribune)
WEST POINT – The second day of the annual West Point Christmas Tournament was full of tight games, comebacks, clutch shots and revealed our two championship game competitors. Good Hope fought past Hayden to punch its ticket to the title game against West Point, which knocked off Cullman 79-76 to advance. Cold Springs led Priceville by double digits at the half, but a huge Bulldogs comeback in the second half led to the Eagles’ second loss of the tournament.
West Point 79 – Cullman 76
The Warriors started this one about as strong as they could’ve hoped, jumping out to an early 11-0 lead. Cullman’s Tucker Gambrill was able stop the bleeding by scoring eight straight points to cut the lead down to just three midway through the first quarter, but West Point stretched its lead back to 23-16 by the end of the period. Sapp scored 18 in the first quarter for the Warriors.
Both teams traded baskets in the second period but West Point maintained a 38-27 lead at the break thanks in large part to a 24-point first half from Sapp. Bearcat turnovers led to some easy early buckets for the Warriors, but Cullman would not go away. Shots continued to fall for West Point, but the Bearcats trailed just 61-52 headed into the final frame.
A rebound and basket from JT White cut the Warriors' lead to 63-60 early in the fourth and the score remained fairly tight the rest of the way. Sapp stretched the West Point lead to 75-67 with a minute to play and from that point, the Warriors finished at the free-throw line. The Bearcats were able to get some quick buckets, but three free throws from Rylan Jones and another from Will Cochran in the final 30 seconds allowed West Point to pull away and win it 79-76.
Sapp led all scorers with 33 points and Gambrill led Cullman with a 19-point performance. Jones scored 17 for the Warriors in the win and Jayden Sullins finished just behind Gambrill with 18 points.
The Warriors will take on Good Hope Saturday at 12:45 to decide the West Point Christmas Tournament Champion. Cullman will face Hayden in the third-place game just before them at 11.
Priceville 54 – Cold Springs 47
This one was truly a tale of two halves for the Eagles. Cold Springs got off to an 8-0 start over the Bulldogs and held them scoreless until midway through the opening quarter. A barrage of 3-point shots to close the second quarter allowed the Eagles to build their lead up to 37-21 by halftime.
Unfortunately for Cold Springs fans, the Eagles weren’t able to keep the momentum going in the second half. Full court pressure and 3-point shooting kept Priceville in the game and the Bulldogs cut the lead to just three by the start of the fourth quarter. With a little over three minutes left to play, the Bulldogs took their first lead of the game at 46-44 and they were able to build it up to 51-44 on their next two possessions. By the time the buzzer sounded, Priceville had come from behind to defeat the Eagles 54-47. The Bulldogs outscored Cold Springs 33-10 in the second half.
Adam Hill led the Eagles with 16 points in the loss, followed by Logan Rice and Landyn Freeman who recorded nine and eight points, respectively. Cold Springs will finish up its tournament games Saturday morning at 9 against Danville.
Good Hope 65 – Hayden 55
The final game of the night featured the Good Hope Raiders taking on the Hayden Wildcats. Good Hope got off to a very fast start, jumping out to a 13-2 lead, but a 9-2 Hayden run cut the Raider lead to four at 15-11. The Wildcats made it 19-17, but Drew Maddox drilled a three just before the buzzer sounded to give the Raiders a 22-17 advantage after one.
Good Hope pushed its lead to 30-19 after an 8-2 run started the second period. The Wildcats later cut it to 38-31, but a Noah Fendley layup and a Cole Maddox free throw gave the Raiders a 41-31 lead at the half.
The third quarter was a defensive one for both teams as only 19 points were scored in the period, but Good Hope still held a 49-42 lead going into the final frame.
Hayden scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 49. Both teams traded baskets to keep the game tied, but Good Hope took over after that with a 14-0 run to put the game away. The Raiders moved on to the championship game after their 65-55 victory over the Wildcats.
Cole Maddox finished the game with 24 points, seven rebounds, four steals and a block for Good Hope. Fendley added 18 points, four rebounds, a steal and a block. Drew Maddox ended up with 12 points, two rebounds and two steals. Matt Dixon added six points and eight rebounds. Dawson Turner chipped in with three points and a steal. Eli Phares added two points, four rebounds and a steal.
The Raiders will take on West Point in the championship game on Saturday at 12:45.
Other Friday scores:
Holly Pond 70 – Cedar Bluff 36 (varsity boys)
Cedar Bluff 52 – Holly Pond 37 (varsity girls)
Cold Springs 62 – Holy Spirit 5 (varsity girls)
Curry 56 – Addison 52 (varsity girls)
Carbon Hill 48 – Vinemont 22 (varsity girls)
Cullman 43 – Athens 41 (varsity girls)
R.A. Hubbard 48 – Fairview 40 (varsity girls)
Sand Rock 57 – West Point 46 (varsity girls)
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