HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The West Point Warriors and Cold Springs Eagles faced off in Friday’s nightcap from the Cullman County Tournament with a spot in Saturday’s varsity boys championship game on the line. After falling behind early in the first quarter and trailing at the halftime break, the Warriors bounced back in the second half and knocked off the Eagles 71-62 to earn a spot in Saturday’s varsity boys finals against (1) Good Hope.
The Warriors jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start the game but baskets from Seth Williams and Adam Hill tied the game early in the opening period. Hill then buried a three-pointer from the left wing to give the Eagles a 7-4 lead but an Aubry Cleghorn bucket made it a 1-point game midway through the first. A pair of treys from Logan Rice put Cold Springs in front 13-11 and Brody Peppers layed one in to make it 15-11 with just over three minutes to play in the quarter. Kobe Bowers drilled a three from the right wing to cut the lead to one, but a Tanner Kilgo basket on the other end put the Eagles back up 17-14 late in the period. Peppers knocked down a three to make it a 20-16 game with just over a minute left on the clock, but Bowers responded with a basket for West Point that trimmed the lead back down to two. Peppers netted a pair of free throws in the final seconds of the first to give Cold Springs a 22-18 lead going into the start of the second.
Another Rice three-pointer extended the lead to 25-18 early in the second quarter and Peppers scored at the rim to make it 27-19 midway through the period. Sam Wheeler knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the lead to eight with just over three minutes remaining in the half and Bowers layed one in to make it a 29-23 game. A pair of free throws from Peppers put the Eagles in front by 10 late in the second and Kilgo scored down low to make it 35-23 with less than a minute to play in the half. Bowers drilled a pair of free throws to bring the lead back down to 10 and after Logan Selby added one from the charity stripe, Cold Springs went into halftime leading the Warriors 35-26.
A Micah Calvert layup gave the Eagles a 39-29 lead early in the third quarter but a basket from Bowers on the other end cut the lead to eight. Williams answered with a bucket to put Cold Springs back up by 10 but an and-one play from Bowers made it a 41-34 game midway through the period. A pair of Tyler White free throws trimmed the lead to five and a turnaround jumoer from Cleghorn made it 41-38 with just over three minutes to play in the quarter. White knocked down a three-pointer from the left wing to cut the Eagles lead to one late in the third and Wheeler scored to put the Warriors up 43-42 with less than two minutes on the clock. Peppers drilled a three with just over a minute left in the third quarter to tie the game at 45 but Bowers answered with a trey on the other end to put West Point up by three. Bowers added another basket just before the buzzer to make it a 50-46 game going into the final frame.
Bowers buried another three from the right corner to put the Warriors in front 55-46 early in the fourth quarter and back to back Tyler Thompson buckets stretched the lead to 11 midway through the period. White netted a pair of free throws to keep West Point up by 10 with just over two minutes to play but the Eagles didn’t go away. Cold Springs managed to cut the lead to seven with just over a minute to play and Calvert banked in a deep three to make it 65-60 with 54 seconds on the clock. White knocked down a couple free throws to make it a 7-point game and added two more with just over 30 seconds remaining to put the Warriors up 69-60 and all but ice the game. West Point held on to win it 71-62.
Bowers led the way for the Warriors with 25 points in the win. White finished with 18, Will Cochran added nine and Wheeler posted eight. Peppers led the Eagles with 18 points in the loss, followed by Hill with 15 and Kilgo and Rice each finished with nine.
(2) West Point will face (1) Good Hope Saturday at 7 p.m. with this year’s county championship up for grabs.
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