COUNTY BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT: Good Hope races past Vinemont 77-56 to advance to county finals

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Good Hope’s Ava McSwain finished with 26 points in the Lady Raiders’ 77-56 win over Vinemont Thursday night. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Good Hope and Vinemont clashed in the county tournament’s first varsity semifinal game Thursday night and after a back and forth first half, the Lady Raiders outscored Vinemont 22-10 in the third quarter and fended off the Lady Eagles in the fourth to secure a spot in Saturday’s county finals with a 77-56 win.

Ava McSwain scored the first six points for the Lady Raiders to give them an early, 6-5 lead over Vinemont but a three-pointer from Maggie Burks put the Lady Eagles in front 8-6 midway through the opening period. Heather Tetro drained a three from the corner to put Good Hope ahead 9-8 and that’s when Ivey Maddox began to heat up, scoring seven straight points for the Lady Raiders to give them a 16-11 lead with two minutes remaining in the first. A basket by Whitney Quick cut the lead to 16-13 but McSwain scored five more for Good Hope in the final minute of the first quarter to put the Lady Raiders in front 21-13 going into the second.

A McSwain three-pointer added to Good Hope’s lead early in the second quarter and Maddox drilled three straight from three-point range to make it a 35-21 game midway through the period. Quick hit a pair of free throws and Robinson laid one in to trim the lead to 37-25 later in the second. Burks and Maddox exchanged three-pointers to make it a 42-30 game with just over a minute to play in the first half and with just 10 seconds on the clock, Quick laid one in to bring the lead down to 44-32. However, McSwain’s big first half wasn’t quite finished, and she buried a three at the buzzer to put the Lady Raiders on top 47-32 at the halftime break. Maddox and McSwain combined to score 39 of Good Hope’s 47 points in the first half.

Baskets by McSwain and Charly Johnson made it a 51-34 game early in the third and a 7-0 Lady Raiders run stretched the lead to 58-34. Burks drained a three to stop the run and trim the lead to 58-37 midway through the period but another big scoring run from Good Hope made it a 30-point game with just over a minute to play in the third quarter. Jolee McHan scored in the paint for the Lady Raiders and Burks hit a pair of free throws just before the end of the third to make it a 69-42 game with eight minutes to play.

Vinemont scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 69-51 but the Lady Eagles couldn’t chip away any more of the deficit than that and Good Hope punched its ticket to the county finals with a 77-56 win over Vinemont.

Maddox led the way with 31 points in the win and McSwain finished just behind her with 26. Burks led the Lady Eagles with 22 points in the loss.

The Lady Raiders will be back on the court Saturday at 5:30 p.m. to play either West Point or Cold Springs for this year’s varsity girls county championship.

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