PREP BASKETBALL: Good Hope’s season ends in Sweet 16 with 81-71 loss to Deshler

Good Hope’s K’mal Bell finished with 18 points in the Raiders’ 81-71 loss to Deshler Monday. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – After coming from behind to defeat Randolph and punching their ticket to the Northwest Regional, the Good Hope Raiders were back in action Monday at Wallace State’s Tom Drake Coliseum to face Deshler in the Sweet 16. The Raiders shot 50% from three-point range and took a lead over the Tigers early in the third quarter but weren’t able to keep pace with Deshler down the stretch and their season came to an end with an 81-71 loss.

Deshler Point Guard Khalil Bland posted 24 points and seven assists for the Tigers and Good Hope Head Coach Drew Adams knew he would be a tough matchup.

“We knew coming in that he was the key. Our goal coming in was to no-help no. 1 and no. 11, we knew they could shoot it, and try to make no. 4 hit tough twos. As the game progressed, not only did he hit tough twos, but we then knew we had to help off of him a little more and as soon as we helped off of him, he found open guys,” Adams said. “He did what an elite point guard is supposed to do, and he was quick enough that we had to throw our best guys at him. I thought we did a good job of guarding him, but he wore us down. It’s crazy to say that we did what we wanted to, we just couldn’t stop them. Good teams make big plays, and we knew the game would play into the 70s or 80s, they just hit a couple more shots than we did.”

Deshler 81 – Good Hope 71 (Northwest Regional Semifinal)

The Raiders fell behind 10-4 early in the opening period but a pair of Tucker Malin baskets trimmed the lead to 12-6 later in the first. K’mal Bell scored a pair of baskets to make it an 18-12 game with a minute remaining in the first quarter and Bell split a pair of free throws in the final seconds of the period to make it 20-13 going into the second.

Bell drained back to back three-pointers to hold the lead to 27-19 early in the second quarter and after Bell laid another one in, Malin knocked down a three to make it a 30-24 game. Tyler Cone split a pair of free throws and Weston Hancock scored inside to bring the lead down to five with two minutes to play in the first half. Bell hit another three-pointer in the final minute of the period, but Deshler was able to extend its lead to 40-32 at the halftime break.

Malin scored Good Hope’s first five points of the third quarter to help cut the lead to two and Cone buried a three to give the Raiders their first lead of the game at 43-42. However, the Tigers quickly moved back out in front 50-43 and were able to stretch their lead to 63-49 by the end of the third.

A pair of Cone baskets made it a 10-point game at the start of the fourth quarter and Jacob Haynes scored the next five points for the Raiders to hold the lead to 68-58. Good Hope continued to chip away at the lead with buckets from Cone and Haynes and Dakota Overton drilled back to back three-pointers to make it a 7-point game with three minutes on the clock but the Raiders weren’t able to come any closer than that and Deshler held on to win it 81-71.

Cone led Good Hope with 19 points in the loss. Bell finished with 18 and Malin posted 17.

For seniors K’mal Bell, Weston Hancock and Dakota Overton, Monday’s game will be the final one of their Raider careers and Adams has already reminded them to be proud of the legacy they’re leaving behind.

“They’ve cemented their legacy. They’ll be up there with the 2020 team and those teams they remember winning county championships and getting to the Sweet 16. Obviously, our goal is to get past that, but we know at the 4A level man you have to be really good and play really well to keep going,” Adams said. “We thought were good enough to get there this year and we were, we took a crazy lead there in the third quarter that was immediately erased. What I told them is they’ve just been about the right things. There are thousands of coaches in the state and some of them trust their guys and some of them don’t and are some are kind of halfway there, but I always trusted them. I always knew they were going to be about the right stuff, I can always depend on them, and I just didn’t have to worry about them because I knew what they were about. They’ve left their legacy, and they know they have nothing to be ashamed about moving forward.”

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