PREP BASKETBALL: West Point, Good Hope claim County Middle School Tournament titles

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West Point’s Patton Fell (15) and Good Hope’s Jacob Haynes (10) finished with six and 32 points in their respective championship games Saturday afternoon. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. – It was championship Saturday at Joe Shults Gymnasium as both the girls and boys Cullman County Middle School Basketball Tournaments came to a close. The West Point Lady Warriors took the first title game of the day over Fairview 37-28 and in the boys’ game, Good Hope outpaced Fairview 53-45 to claim the county championship.

West Point 37 – Fairview 28 (Girls Championship Game)

The Lady Warriors jumped out to a big lead early thanks to a three-pointer from Caitlee Simmons and a basket inside by Macie Brown. Defensive pressure from West Point made it difficult for Fairview to get the ball up the floor in the opening quarter and a three from Patton Fell stretched the lead to 10-1 midway through the first. Another Simmons three made it a 13-2 game with just over two minutes to play in the period and Camryn Faulkner turned a steal into an easy basket to keep the Lady Warriors in front 16-4. However, Stephanie Acklin hit a jumper in the final seconds of the first quarter to cut the lead to 16-6 going into the second.

Darby Nichols knocked down a jumper at the start of the second to trim the lead to 16-8 and Acklin buried another one from mid-range to make it a 6-point game. Fell knocked down a three to put West Point ahead 19-10 with just over a minute to play in the second but the Lady Aggies got the last points of the half on a pair of Ava Thomas free throws to make it a 19-12 game at the break.

Back to back buckets by Brown extended the Lady Warriors lead to 23-12 early in the third quarter and Fell drilled another three-pointer to make it 26-12. A pair of free throws by Camara Marks gave West Point a 29-12 advantage midway through the third and Faulkner laid one in to stretch the lead to 31-12. Peyton Defoor knocked down a jumper to stop the run and Alexis Golden converted an and-one play at the free throw line to cut the lead down to 31-18 going into the final frame.

Ayda Payne netted a pair of free throws to pull Fairview to within 10 at the start of the fourth but Faulkner responded with a basket on the other end to make it a 34-22 game with four minutes to play. An Acklin three cut the lead to 35-25 with under three minutes to play and the Lady Aggies managed to trim the lead down to seven at one point, but they ran out of time and the Lady Warriors pulled away to win this year’s county title 37-28.

Simmons led West Point with 13 points in the win, followed by Brown and Fell with six, Camryn and Jaelyn Faulkner with five and Marks with two. Nichols finished with nine points for the Lady Aggies. Acklin added eight, Payne posted five, Golden scored four and Thomas finished with two.

2020 Cullman All-County Middle School Girls Basketball Team

Adriana Young, Cold Springs

Paisley Whitlow, Cold Springs

Darby Nichols, Fairview

Ayda Payne, Fairview

Mackenzie Twilley, Hanceville

Baylee Perdue, Harmony

Maggie Nail, Holly Pond

Emma Gurganus, Holly Pond

Mattie Wix, Good Hope

Cameron Graves, Good Hope

Peyton Salazar, Parkside

Caroline Miller, Vinemont

Morgan Flanagan, Vinemont

Jaelyn Faulkner, West Point

Patton Fell, West Point

Caitlee Simmons, West Point

Good Hope 53 – Fairview 45 (Boys Championship Game)

Good Hope built a big lead early in the first quarter, starting with a three-point play by Isaiah Turner and back to back buckets from Jacob Haynes. A great pass from Hank Hudson led to another inside basket for Turner and the Raiders led the way 10-0 midway through the first. The Aggies began to rally late in the period, cutting into the lead with a three-pointer from Zayden Cruce and a Gavin Pace bucket and Fairview was able to trim the lead to 13-8 by the start of the second.

Pace drilled a three at the start of the second to make it a 2-point game, but the Raiders responded and moved back in front 17-11. Another Pace three-pointer cut the lead to 17-14 with four minutes remaining in the half and a basket from Nicholas Gregory held the lead to four as the quarter went on. Back to back Rhett Boyd baskets tied the game at 21 with two minutes to play in the second and after an Owen Armstrong bucket on the other end, Pace buried his third trey of the quarter to give the Aggies their first lead of the game at 24-23. However, Haynes drove to the basket and scored through a foul to give the Raiders a 1-point lead with 13 seconds remaining. He knocked down the free throw after the score and Good Hope went into the locker room with a 26-24 lead at the break.

Haynes scored on back to back possessions to extend the Raider lead to 31-24 with just under five minutes to play in the third. Alex England scored for Fairview to trim the lead to five and England and Haynes exchanges baskets on the next two possessions to make it a 34-28 game. Haynes turned a steal into an easy layup to stretch the lead eight midway through the third but a three-pointer by Cruce on the other end made it 36-31. The Aggies continued to chip away until Boyd laid one in just before the buzzer to trim the Good Hope lead to 38-35 going into the fourth quarter.

Armstrong scored inside to give the Raiders a 5-point lead at the start of the fourth and back to back buckets by Haynes extended the lead to 44-35. England laid one in to stop the run but on the next Aggie possession, Turner came up with a big block and Haynes turned it into an easy two points on the other end, making it a 47-38 game with two minutes to play. Boyd laid one in to cut the lead to 49-42 and Cruce nailed another three-pointer to make it a 6-point game late but it was too little, too late and Good Hope held on to win this year’s county championship 53-45.

Haynes led all scorers with 32 points in the win. Turner and Armstrong each posted seven points for the Raiders. Ace Stricklin posted four, Callahan Lindsey finished with two and Hudson added a point. Pace led Fairview with 13 points in the loss, followed by Boyd with 12, Cruce with nine, England with six, A.J. Wood with three and Carson Jones with two.

2020 Cullman All-County Middle School Boys Basketball Team

Matt Williams, Cold Springs

Rhett Boyd, Fairview

Nicholas Gregory, Fairview

Carson Jones, Fairview

Gavin Pace, Fairview

Jacob Haynes, Good Hope

Callahan Lindsey, Good Hope

Peyton Twilley, Hanceville

Marquies Leeth, Hanceville

Zeth McCain, Harmony

Blake Richard, Holly Pond

Sawyer Olinger, Holly Pond

Landon Smith, Parkside

Kayden Henderson, Vinemont

Jay Lamar, West Point

Hunter Hensley, West Point

Cade Welborn, West Point

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