COUNTY TOURNAMENT: Lady Raiders edge Holly Pond 27-26 in OT to advance to JV Girls finals

Good Hope’s Emma Thompson (2) led all scorers with 13 points in the Lady Raiders’ 27-26 OT win over Holly Pond Thursday night. (Bill Piper/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – We tipped things off at the Cullman County Tournament with a JV Girls semifinal matchup Thursday night and it was a physical, low-scoring clash between Good Hope and Holly Pond that took more than four quarters to settle. With the score tied at 25 at the end of regulation, the game went into overtime where the Lady Raiders were able to score just enough to pull ahead and win it 27-26, securing a spot in Saturday’s JV Girls Championship Game.

Points were tough to come by in the opening period. Baskets by Alana Phillips and Phoebe Jones gave the Lady Broncos an early, 4-0 lead but Bailey Keef scored around the three-minute mark of the first to cut the lead in half and Reese Fox laid one in a little later to tie the game at 4. Neither team could get on the board again the first quarter and went into the second still knotted at 4.

Another score by Phillips put Holly Pond in front 6-4 midway through the second and Mattie Wix split a pair of free throws later in the period to make it a 1-point game. Presli Carr laid one in to stretch the Lady Broncos’ lead to 8-5 but Reese Fox responded with a three-pointer on the other end to tie things up at 8. Another basket from Phillips put Holly Pond back up 10-8 with less than two minutes to play in the half but Emma Thompson scored on the other end to tie the game with 30 seconds on the clock. The Lady Broncos looked like they were going to retake the lead going into halftime, but Keef blocked a shot just before the buzzer to keep things tied at 10.

A pair of Thompson baskets gave the Lady Raiders a 14-10 lead early in the third before Libby Stallings scored inside to the paint to cut the lead to two. Abigail Jones laid one it to tie the game at 14 midway through the period and baskets by Carr and Emma Gurganus put Holly Pond up 18-14 with less than two minutes on the clock. Both defenses tightened up after that, but the Lady Broncos were able to add to their lead when Carr got a shot to fall just before the buzzer and made it a 20-14 game going into the fourth quarter.

Rylee Fox split a pair of free throws to cut the lead to five, but Gurganus answered with a basket on the other end to stretch the lead to 22-15 early in the fourth. The Lady Raiders began to rally after that when a pair of Thompson free throws trimmed the lead to 22-17 and Emma Bailey converted an and-one play at the free throw line to make it a 2-point game. Thompson buried a three from the top of the key to put Good Hope back in front 23-22 with three minutes to play. Both teams went scoreless for the next two minutes until Gurganus scored off a Good Hope turnover and gave the Lady Broncos a 1-point lead with 35 seconds on the clock. Abigail Jones sank a free throw with 17 seconds on the clock to make it 25-23 and when Holly Pond appeared to have the game in hand, Thompson stole the ball and took it the other way for a buzzer-beating layup that tied the game at 25 and sent us to overtime.

A Reese Fox basket gave the Lady Raiders a 27-25 advantage early in the overtime period, but Carr split a pair of free throws to cut the lead down to 1 with two minutes remaining. Both teams traded possessions after that but neither could get another shot to fall and Good Hope held on to win it 27-26 and advance to the JV Girls finals.

Thompson led the way for the Lady Raiders with 13 points in the win, followed by Reese Fox with seven. Carr posted seven points for Holly Pond in the loss and Gurganus and Phillips each added six.

Good Hope will advance to play either West Point or Fairview in the JV Girls finals Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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