COUNTY TOURNAMENT: Raiders fend off Fairview 70-64, advance to county championship game

Good Hope’s Dakota Overton drives past a defender during the Raiders’ 70-64 win over Fairview Friday night. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Both spots in this year’s County Championship Game were up for grabs Friday night and the Good Hope Raiders claimed the first one after fending off Fairview in a back and forth, 70-64 thriller. With the win, the defending champs have earned a trip back to the county title game Saturday.

Good Hope got off to a fast start to the game as Tyler Cone knocked down a driving layup and Dakota Overton put in a trey to give the Raiders a quick 5-0 lead. A steal and a layup by Cone and a rebound and put-back by Colton Lindsey pushed the Raider lead to 9-0 almost two minutes in the opening period. Kobe Payne drilled a three to put Fairview on the scoreboard and later hit a reverse layup to cut it to 11-5. Cone and Payne traded baskets to keep it at a six-point game at 13-7. Cone put in another floater and a rebound and put-back by Haynes pushed the Raider lead to 17-7 less than halfway through the first. Payne knocked down a trey to make it a 17-10 game, and Cylas Yarbrough put in a pair of late baskets to end the quarter, but Fairview trailed Good Hope, 21-14, going into the second.

Yarbrough converted his and-one opportunity to start the second period to cut it to 21-17. Ace Stricklin hit a driving layup and a pair of floaters by Cone made it a 27-17 game, but Cade Yeager put in a three and Payne knocked down a pair from the line to cut it to 27-22 with less than three minutes to go in the first half. Payne hit two more from the line to make it a 29-24 game. Another rebound and put-back by Lindsey, plus an and-one by Haynes, pushed the Raider lead to 35-28 at the half.

A driving layup by Weston Hancock stretched Good Hope’s lead to 37-28 to start the third, but Payne hit his third trey of the night to cut it to 37-31. A pair of free throws by Lindsey and a three from the left corner by K’mal Bell made it a 44-35 game with 4:23 left to go in the third. A rebound and put-back by Antonio Gambrill and a big and-one by Payne cut it to 46-41 with a little over three minutes to play in the quarter. Eli Clements and Ethan Fraiser traded baskets to keep it at a five-point game at 48-43. A trey by Nicholas Gregory made it a 49-47 game with 1:54 left in the period. A basket by Yarbrough tied the game up at 49, and later on, Payne hit another trey to give Fairview a 52-51 lead, but Haynes put in a shot on the other end to give Good Hope a 53-52 lead going into the final period.

Lindsey put in a basket down low to give the Raiders a 55-52 lead early in the fourth, but a pair of baskets by Cade Yeager saw Fairview get the lead right back at 56-55. A basket in the paint by Bell and a pair of free throws by Cone gave Good Hope a 59-56 lead. Overton hit a shot down low and Cone banked in a shot to stretch the Raider lead to 63-58 with less than four minutes to go in the game. Free throws by Yarbrough and Payne cut it to 63-61, but another basket by Cone made it 65-61. A pair of layups by Cone late pushed the Raider lead to 70-61 and they would go on to knock off the Aggies, 70-64, to move on to the championship game on Saturday.

Cone finished the game with 26 points for Good Hope. Lindsey added 14 points and Haynes collected 11 points. For Fairview, Payne led the way with 26 points. Yeager and Yarbrough each finished with nine points and Gregory added seven points.

Good Hope will take on either Holly Pond or Hanceville Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in the championship game.

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