CULLMAN COUNTY TOURNAMENT: (1) Good Hope rallies to eliminate (4) Vinemont 40-35 and advance in JV Boys bracket

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Good Hope’s Noah Barnette (10) led the Raiders with 17 points in their 40-35 win over Vinemont in the semi-final round of the JV Boys bracket. (Martha Needham for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – After fending off the Hanceville Bulldogs on Saturday, Vinemont got back on the floor for its second-round matchup with top-seeded Good Hope in the JV Boys bracket. Good Hope fell behind early in the game but pulled away from Vinemont in the second half to punch its ticket to the county tournament finals.

An Austin Riddle basket gave the Eagles an early 2-0 lead and Bosten McDuffee scored in the paint to make it 4-0 with just over four minutes to play in the first. Charlie O’Neil buried a corner three for the Raiders to cut the lead to 4-3 late in the opening period but McDuffee answered with a three on the other end that put Vinemont in front 7-3 in the final seconds of the period. The Eagles maintained a 4-point lead going into the second.

Two quick buckets from K’mal Bell and Noah Barnette tied the game at seven early in the second quarter but a Ryan Stewart basket put Vinemont back in front 10-8 with just over four minutes to play in the half. After picking off an Eagles pass, Barnette was fouled on his way to the basket and hit one of his two free throws to tie the game at 10 with three minutes remaining in the period. A Caleb Sharpe floater gave the lead back to Vinemont at 12-10 and Sharpe followed that up with another bucket that made it 14-10 with under two minutes to play in the opening half. Neither team was able to get on the board again the rest of the way and the Eagles went into the half with a 4-point lead over the Raiders.

Colton Lindsey went up strong and finished at the rim to cut the lead to 14-12 early in the third quarter and a Colton Bagwell basket tied the game just two possessions later. Barnette stole a Vinemont inbounds pass and scored the put Good Hope in front 17-14 with just over three minutes to play and Ethan Anderson turned another steal into an easy two points to give the Raiders a 19-14 lead late in the period. Barnette knocked down a jumper to make it 21-15 with less than a minute remaining in the third and Lindsey scored another basket at the rim in the finals seconds of the quarter to give Good Hope a 23-15 advantage at the start of the fourth.

Nathan Whitney hit a three-pointer for the Eagles to cut the lead to 23-18 early in the fourth quarter but Eli Pugh collected an and-one play on the other end build the lead back up to eight. Another Barnette bucket gave the Raiders a 30-20 lead midway through the period and Barnette added a three on their next possession to make it 33-22. A pair of Bell free throws stretched the lead to 37-24 with under two minutes to play. Another Riddle score trimmed the lead to 37-28 with a minute to play but it was too little, too late and Good Hope held on to win it 40-35 and advance to the tournament finals. The Raiders will face either (6) Holly Pond or (2) West Point Saturday at 4 p.m. for this year’s JV Boys county championship.

Barnette led Good Hope with 17 points in the win, followed by Bell with six, Anderson with five, Lindsey with four and O’Neil and Pugh each added three. Riddle led the Eagles with 12 points in the loss. McDuffee and Sharpe each finished with nine points, Whitney added three points and Stewart posted two.

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