HOLLY POND, Ala. – Junior varsity action resumed in this year’s Cullman County Basketball Tournament at Holly Pond High School’s Felton Easterwood Gymnasium Tuesday night and we tipped things off with a clash between the top-seeded Good Hope Lady Raiders and the Holly Pond Lady Broncos. Holly Pond came from behind to topple West Point on its home court Saturday night but this time, the Lady Broncos couldn’t keep up with the Lady Raiders and Good Hope punched its ticket to the JV Girls finals with a 37-23 win.
A Bailey Keef basket gave the Lady Raiders an early, 2-0 lead over Holly Pond and Maddie McKenney tacked on a three-pointer to make it a 5-0 game with just under three minutes to play in the opening period. Lauryn Hoffman knocked down a three to get the Lady Broncos on the board and cut the lead to two but after a couple trips to the free throw line late in the first, Good Hope built an 8-3 lead going into the second.
A bucket by Emma Bailey and a three-pointer from Zoey Keller stretched the Lady Raiders’ lead to 13-3 early in the second quarter. Phoebe Jones netted a pair of free throws for Holly Pond to make it a 13-6 game with four minutes remaining in the half and Ellie Burks laid one in to cut the lead to five. Keef scored inside to give Good Hope a 15-8 advantage with just over a minute to play in the period and Addie Stripling knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 17-8. Burks scored through a foul inside the paint and converted the free throw to trim the lead to 17-11 in the final moments of the half, but Stripling added two more free throws for the Lady Raiders to give them a 19-11 lead going into the break.
Bailey laid one in to extend the Good Hope lead to 10 early in the third quarter but Maycie Black responded with a bucket on the other end to trim the lead to 21-13 with just under four minutes remaining in the period. Hoffman scored under the basket with just 30 seconds on the clock in the third but Lexi Collins banked in a three-pointer at the top of the key to give the Lady Raiders a 24-15 advantage going into the final frame.
Samantha Giles drilled a mid-range jumper to cut in the lead early in the fourth, but Good Hope once again responded with a three-pointer on the other end, this time from Stripling, to build the lead back to 10. Stripling knocked down another three from the left corner to stretch the lead to 30-17 with less than three minutes to play and all but put the game out of reach for the Lady Broncos. Emma Earl hit a pair of free throws and Giles added another bucket inside, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Lady Raiders lead and Good Hope held on to win it 37-23.
Stripling led the Lady Raiders with 13 points in the win, followed by Collins with seven, McKenney and Keef with four and Keller with three. Hoffman led Holly Pond with seven points in the loss, followed by Giles with four.
Good Hope will advance to take on either (2) Fairview or (3) Cold Springs in the JV Girls Championship Game Saturday at 2 p.m. at Tom Drake Coliseum.
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