CULLMAN COUNTY TOURNAMENT: Good Hope knocks off West Point 44-37

Good Hope’s Tanner Malin attacks the basket during the Raiders’ 44-37 win over West Point Friday night. (Bill Piper/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Good Hope and West Point squared off in Friday night’s final varsity boys’ semifinal game, battling to decide who will advance to face Cold Springs in tomorrow’s county championship game. After a tight, physical four quarters, the Raiders emerged on the winning end 44-37 and will take on Cold Springs in the county finals Saturday.

A Michael Owens basket gave the Raiders the early lead, but Carter Thornton buried a corner three to give the Warriors a 3-2 advantage. A Colton Lindsey free throw tied the score at 3 but Will Cochran scored on a put back to put West Point up by two. Tanner Malin drove to the basket and scored to tie the game at 5 midway through the first and Lindsey added another basket for Good Hope to make it a 7-5 game. Malin collected a quick basket in transition to give the Raiders a 9-5 lead with just over a minute to play in the period but a jumper from Cochran cut the lead back down to two and the Warriors went into the second quarter trailing 9-7.

Malin put a tough layup through the net to make it an 11-7 game at the start of the second and Lawton Farr put in a floater to make it a 14-7 game with just under five minutes to play in the opening half. Logan Selby laid one in for West Point to cut the lead to five with just over three minutes remaining in the period and Bowers took a steal the other way for two points to make it a 15-11 game late in the second. The Warriors got one more look at the basket in the final moments of the quarter but couldn’t get a shot to fall and Good Hope went into the halftime break leading 15-11.

Another Malin bucket added to the Raider lead at the start of the third quarter but a pair of Cochran free throws made it a 17-13 game. Malin scored again to extend the lead to 19-13 and a couple of free throws by Owens gave Good Hope a 21-13 advantage with just under six minutes to play in the third. Bowers scored an acrobatic basket in transition to cut into the lead and an Aubry Cleghorn bucket made it a 22-17 game midway through the period. Noah Barnette rebounded his own miss and put it back in to give the Raiders a 24-18 lead, but Thornton responded with a trey from the right wing to trim the lead to three with just over three minutes remaining in the third. A pair of free throws from Lindsey gave Good Hope a 26-21 advantage but Cochran knocked down a mid-range jumper to make it a three-point game late in the third quarter. Barnette scored on a reverse layup to add to the lead but a three-pointer by Cochran on the other end made it a 28-26 game with just seconds remaining in the period. The Raiders got one more shot at the buzzer, but it was no good and we went to the fourth with Good Hope holding a 28-26 lead.

Owens and Cochran traded baskets to start the fourth quarter and Malin drilled a three-pointer around the six-minute mark to give the Raiders a 35-30 lead. Barnette knocked down a jumper to stretch the lead to seven with five minutes to play but Cochran scored another strong basket in the paint to cut the lead to four with three minutes remaining in the game. Barnette and Owens each added a free throw with just over two minutes on the clock to give Good Hope a 39-33 lead but Cleghorn netted a pair of shots at the line to make it a 39-35 game and keep West Point’s hopes alive. Malin was then fouled and sent to the line where he hit one of two to extend the lead to five but Cleghorn buried two more foul shots on the other end to make it 40-37 with just over a minute to play. Barnette scored in transition to put the Raiders up by five and the Warriors got some good looks at the basket in the final minute but couldn’t get enough shots to fall and Good Hope held on to win a low-scoring semifinal tilt 44-37.

Malin led the Raiders with 14 points in the win, followed by Barnette with 10 and Owens with nine. Cochran led all scorers with 16 points in the loss. Cleghorn added seven and Thornton finished with six.

Good Hope will play Cold Springs in the varsity boys’ county finals tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Tom Drake Coliseum.

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