Sports Column: ‘Best games I’ve ever covered’ vol. 2

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Good Hope’s Cole Maddox (left) and Holly Pond’s Kyler Chaney (right). (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. — COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of spring sports and during this unprecedented time, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best games I’ve seen in my years with The Cullman Tribune. I’ve seen a lot of exciting games so far that had us all on the edge of our seats so feel free to add any games that you would include on your list as well.

February 18, 2018: A trip to the Regional Finals was on the line when no.5 Holly Pond hosted Hanceville. The Bulldogs had the lead at the half over the Broncos and even pushed the deficit up to 11 at one point. Despite multiple attempts by the Broncos to get back in the game, Hanceville stopped them in their tracks after a huge and-one play by Damion Johnson gave the Bulldogs a 6-point advantage and they wound up pulling off the upset, 65-59.

September 7, 2018: West Point hosted Hamilton in its region opener and the game went back-and-forth. Back-to-back touchdowns by the Aggies gave them a 48-35 lead in the final period and the Warriors scored to cut it to six. They looked to win the game late, but West Point fell just short at the end, falling 48-42.

October 19, 2018: West Point traveled to take on Corner in a game that was scoreless at the half. The Yellow Jackets took an 8-6 lead going into the final period and made it 14-6 with West Point looking to tie the game, but it wasn’t meant to be as the Warriors wound up dropping the game by eight on the road.

November 2, 2018: The final game of the season saw Fairview hosting Holly Pond. The Broncos held a 14-7 lead at the half and increase it to 20-7 in the third period, but the Aggies came back and took the lead early in the final period; they sealed the 21-20 win on an interception by Dante Dumas.

November 16, 2018: St. Bernard traveled to take on Vinemont and the Saints held a slim lead at the half that they pushed to seven in the fourth period, but the Eagles cut it to one on a trey by Hudson Wood. St. Bernard saved the win by adding a clutch free throw at the end to give the Saints a 45-43 win.

December 4, 2018: Hanceville hosted Holly Pond in what turned out to be a tight, thrilling game. Both teams traded leads several times during the contest and it eventually went into overtime on a pair of Fred Ellis free throws. The Broncos dominated most of the extra period and had to hold off a late rally by the Bulldogs to take the game, 91-86.

December 18, 2018: Good Hope hosted Oneonta in a huge area game. A huge second-quarter run gave the Raiders a 15-point lead, but the Redskins came back and took the lead in the third period. Good Hope looked for a run late in the game and they got one, but they fell just short at the end, 69-64.

December 28, 2018: The 2018 West Point Christmas Tournament featured a pair of thrilling games for the Raiders and Warriors. Good Hope took on Brewer in the first game and fell behind early but mounted a comeback in the second period and both teams went back-and-forth the rest of the way. Good Hope forced a turnover and a Drew Maddox trey from the left corner helped give the Raiders a 69-67 win. West Point took on Priceville next and fell behind early, but made a huge run to get back in the game and wound up taking the lead in the final period with a pair of Rylan Jones free throws helping to seal the 57-53 win.

January 9, 2019: Good Hope and Hanceville squared off against each other with no.1 seed in the 2019 county tournament on the line. A huge second quarter run by the Bulldogs would give them a six-point lead at the half. Both teams hit huge baskets in the second half, but none was bigger than Eli Phares’ as he got a steal and a layup to give the Raiders a 1-point lead, which would turn into a 60-55 victory. 

January 15, 2019: The Good Hope Lady Raiders hosted Cleveland in a game that belonged to Cleveland through the first three periods. Good Hope trailed by 19 at one point in the final frame but the Lady Raiders would respond in a huge way as their bench helped launch a furious rally led by Heather Tetro and Ivey Maddox to cut into the deficit. They forced numerous Lady Panther turnovers to cut the lead to just two at one point, but the comeback came up just short and Good Hope fell 54-50.

February 8, 2019: Fairview took on Oneonta in the girls’ area championship game and the Lady Aggies suffocated the Lady Redskins early, taking a 24-16 lead into the half. They pushed the lead up to 11 early in the third period, but Oneonta tied the game at 27 after three and both teams swapped the lead for most of the final period before the Lady Redskins took a 40-37 lead late in the fourth. The Lady Aggies looked for a quick basket, but the ball got deflected out of bounds and Fairview wound up falling in the title game by three points.

February 13, 2019: Good Hope traveled to take on D.A.R. in its Sub-Regional game and had to overcome a hot-shooting start by the Patriots, needing a huge scoring run of their own to get back in the contest. The Raiders wound up taking the lead late in the final period, but a controversial technical foul got things started for D.A.R. and they ended the game on a huge run to win it 64-62.

August 23, 2019: Hanceville traveled to take on Sumiton Christian to kick off the 2019 season and the Bulldogs dominated the first half, taking a 26-6 lead into the locker room. But, the Eagles launched a huge rally in the second half, tying the game at 26 and forcing overtime before Hanceville won it on a 10-yard run by Bo Joles that gave the Bulldogs a 32-26 road victory to start the season.

October 24, 2019: West Point hosted Hayden on Senior Night and it was a tale of two halves for the Warriors as they trailed the Wildcats 14-0 at the break but got back in the game behind a huge second half from quarterback Will Cochran. He, along with the West Point defense, helped tie the game up at 14 and send the contest into overtime. After Hayden scored, but missed the point after attempt, West Point found the end zone on a Cochran touchdown run and Logan Selby nailed the extra point to give the Warriors the thrilling, 21-20 overtime win.

November 8, 2019: Good Hope traveled to take on Oneonta in round one of the 2019 AHSAA State Football Playoffs and the first half was dominated by the Redskins as they took a 17-0 lead into the locker room. The Raiders quickly got back in the game and went on a run to cut the deficit to five but they couldn’t quite close the gap after that and wound up falling on the road 37-29.

January 24, 2020: A spot in the JV Girls’ title game was on the line as (2) Good Hope took on (3) Holly Pond in what turned out to be a very close contest. The Lady Raiders held a slim lead at the half, but the Lady Broncos wound up taking the lead in the second half and stretched their advantage to six at one point. Good Hope went on a little rally of their own and a huge and-one play by Maddie McKenney gave the Lady Raiders a 38-37 lead before they added three free throws to help seal the 41-37 win.