CULLMAN COUNTY TOURNAMENT: Hoffpauir’s buzzer-beater lifts (2) West Point over (1) Good Hope 50-49 in OT to win JV Boys championship

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West Point celebrates after Isaac Hoffpauir’s game-winning shot in Saturday’s JV Boys title game. (Bill Piper for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Both of the top seeds in the JV Boys bracket met in the title game Saturday afternoon and four quarters were not enough to decide a winner. Neither team could create much separation throughout the game but after Good Hope scored off a missed free throw to go up one with seven seconds remaining in overtime, West Point’s Isaac Hoffpauir banked one in as time expired to give the Warriors a 50-49 win and a JV Boys county title.

A Cade Simmons three gave the Warriors an early 3-2 lead but Good Hope managed to work its way back in front 9-7 midway through the first quarter. Noah Barnette converted an and-one play at the line to give the Raiders a 12-7 lead with two minutes remaining in the opening period and Ethan Anderson buried a three from the right wing to make it 15-8 in the final 20 seconds of the quarter. Isacc Hoffpauir was fouled on a three-point attempt at the buzzer and netted two of three to make it a 15-10 game at the end of period.

A steal and basket from Barnette put Good Hope in front 22-14 early in the second and Charlie O’Neal laid one in to make it a 10-point game midway through the quarter. A pair of Simmons free throws trimmed the lead to 25-17 with two minutes to play in the period and a Raiders turnover led to an easy basket for Kanen Trussell that made it a 6-point game. Jayden Laney knocked down a three from the right wing to cut the lead to 25-22 with less than a minute remaining in the half and the Warriors went into the locker trailing by just three at the break.

An Eli Pugh basket stretched the lead to 29-25 midway through the third quarter and a pair of Barnette free throws made it a 31-25 with three minutes remaining in the period. Colton Lindsey added a pair from the line to give Good Hope a 33-26 lead late in the third, but Andrew Lynn scored with less than a minute on the clock to make it a 5-point game. A jumper from Anderson put the Raiders on top 35-28 in the final seconds of the quarter but Laney scored at the buzzer to make it a 35-30 game going into the fourth quarter.

Another Pugh bucket made it 37-30 early in the fourth but West Point managed to pull within four midway through the period. Anderson turned a steal into an easy two points to give Good Hope a 40-33 lead with just under three minutes to play but another score from Simmons cut it to 42-37 at the two-minute mark. Aiden Dujoud scored down low for the Warriors to make it a 3-point game with just over a minute remaining and Laney drilled a three from the right corner to tie the game at 42 with 30 seconds on the clock. After narrowly avoiding a turnover with a timeout, the Raiders took the ball out with just seven seconds left and couldn’t get a shot to fall, sending us to overtime knotted at 42.

Laney and Barnette exchanged threes to keep the game tied at 45 with under two minutes to play in overtime and Simmons netted a free throw put West Point in front by one. Simmons was fouled on another shot with just over a minute remaining and knocked down both shots from the line to put the Warriors up by three. Anderson stole an inbounds pass with just 20 seconds on the clock and scored through a foul to cut the lead to one and when he missed the free throw, Barnette put it back in to give the Raiders a 49-48 lead. However, West Point would not be denied and after pushing the ball up the floor with seven seconds on the clock, Hoffpauir banked one in off the glass at the buzzer to give the Warriors a dramatic, 50-49 win in overtime and a county championship.

West Point Head Coach Mason Voce bragged on his team’s work ethic and tenacity to stay in the game when Good Hope began to pull away late but also talked about the star of the game, Hoffpauir and the things that make him a special player on this team.

“They battled. Those guys back in August committed to 5:30 a.m. workouts, they have busted their dadgum tails every day of the season. They’ve never complained at practice, they’ve never backed down from a challenge, they’ve battled tooth and nail with everybody and that’s just proof of it right there. Those guys have zero quit in them,” Voce said. “They went 23-7 this year and had situations like that where we didn’t finish the game. They finished the game right there and there’s not a better kid for that to happen to in West Point than Isaac Hoffpauir. No one deserves it more than he does. He works his tail off, he’s a great kid, he’s FCA, all academic, he’s unbelievable.”

Hoffpauir didn’t know exactly what would happen when he let go of the game’s last shot but knew he had to get rid of it in a hurry.

“I was just thinking ‘I have to get this ball of before time expires’ so I just ran as fast as I could trying to find the ball,” Hoffpauir said. I saw Ethan Gammon running down the side and I was running through the middle and I just got the ball up and put it up to see if it would go in.”

Hoffpauir credits his team’s drive and work ethic this season for the way they rallied and found a way to come back and capture this year’s county title.

“I think starting off this year during the first week of school just busting our tails and getting up early to work. It just shows the toughness of our team,” Hoffpauir said. “Running after practice, running during practice and just getting through it. I think that’s the culture of our team and just the culture of our school.

Simmons led the Warriors with 19 points in the win, followed by Laney with 15, Hoffpauir with seven and Trussell with four. Barnette led the way for Good Hope with 17 in the loss. Anderson added nine, K’mal Bell posted seven and Lindsey finished with six.

2020 JV Boys All-County Tournament Team

Caleb Sharpe – Vinemont

Gunnar McBee – Holly Pond

Andrew Lynn – West Point

Noah Barnette – Good Hope

Isaac Hoffpauir – West Point

Cade Simmons – West Point

Ethan Anderson – Good Hope

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