PREP BASKETBALL: No. 1 Good Hope handles No. 3 Deshler 68-45 to advance to Elite 8

Ava McSwain led the Lady Raiders with 30 points in their 68-45 win over Deshler Monday. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – For the fourth consecutive year, Good Hope and Deshler clashed in the postseason Monday morning and after being eliminated by the Lady Tigers the last two seasons, the Lady Raiders bounced back in a big way this time around, dominating Deshler 68-45 to punch their ticket to the Northwest Regional finals. Good Hope senior Ivey Maddox has felt the sting of falling to the Tigers two years in a row and she was thrilled to help lead her team past them Monday.

“I know for sure these last two years getting beat by them was pretty stinking annoying so this year winning by 20-plus, I can’t even describe it,” Maddox said. “I’m running out of breath just talking about it.”

Lady Raiders Head Coach Justin Aby was proud of the way his team executed their plan for Monday’s game against Deshler. Good Hope led 21-9 at the end of the first quarter and he believes that fast start and a great turnout from the Raider faithful helped them take control of the game early.

“I’m just tickled to death with these girls. I feel like we did an excellent job throughout the season of playing the competition that we needed to play to get to this point. The message all year and even today was basically just for us to be us,” Aby said. “For us to be the team that got us here and control the pace of the game and I thought we did a good job of doing that,” Aby said. “I think (the first quarter) was huge. Theres a reason they have seven, eight, nine or however many state championships they’ve got. They’re well-coached and they always have a great team but as far as for us, I thought it was an awesome job by our fans. It felt like we had a packed house and then obviously us getting off to a fast start did nothing but help us out.”

Junior guard Ava McSwain led Good Hope with a game-high 30 points in the win and she was excited to be able to help lead the Lady Raiders to one of their biggest wins of the season so far.

“I feel pretty good about it,” McSwain said. “We’ve been preparing really hard this week and to beat Deshler was one of our big goals so I’m proud that we got it done.

Good Hope was able to match Deshler in the paint and on the boards throughout the game and Aby credits one of his seniors for helping lead the way for the Lady Raiders under the basket.

“Charly Johnson had her hands full all night guarding No. 30 (Ali Henson) and I thought she did a really good job containing her,” Aby said. “I know last year we got destroyed in the paint. I felt like we had a little grit and we had senior girls who didn’t want this to be their last game and I thought it showed.”

The twin backcourt of Bailey and Heather Tetro combined to record nine points, 10 assists and a pair of steals in the win and Maddox says they played their role to perfection.

“They’re the glue of our team. If they’re going, we’re going. If they’re up, we’re up,” Maddox said. “They’re running all around the floor all the time stealing the ball, making assists and they play their role perfectly and they’re a big part of our team.”

Good Hope 68 – Deshler 45 (NW Regional Semifinal)

Ava McSwain drained a corner three and Charly Johnson scored inside to give the Lady Raiders a 5-0 start. Bailey Tetro laid one in, and Heather Tetro knocked down a three-pointer to put Good Hope ahead 10-6 and after McSwain hit a mid-range jumper, Ivey Maddox nailed another three to make it a 15-8 game midway through the first quarter. McSwain collected an offensive rebound and laid it back in to give the Lady Raiders a 17-8 lead with two minutes to play in the first and Maddox got a running floater to fall to make it 19-9. McSwain drew a foul at the buzzer to earn a trip to the line and she sank both free throws to put Good Hope in front 21-9 at the start of the second quarter.

Baskets by McSwain and Johnson kept the Lady Raiders up by 10 with five minutes remaining in the second and McSwain turned a steal into an easy bucket to make it a 27-15 game. Maddox buried a deep three to make it 30-19 with just over two minutes to play in the first half and Ella Gossett drove to the hoop and scored to put Good Hope ahead 32-21. McSwain knocked nailed another three from the right corner to make it a 35-21 game and Maddox split a pair of free throws in the final seconds of the period to give the Lady Raiders a 36-21 lead at halftime.

Maddox hit a pair of free throws and McSwain knocked down her third three-pointer of the morning to keep Good Hope in front 41-26 early in the third quarter. After another basket by McSwain, Maddox scored through a foul and tacked on the free throw to make it a 46-29 game midway through the period. Emma Thompson drained a three in front of the Lady Raiders’ bench to give Good Hope a 17-point lead. Another McSwain score made it 51-37 with around two minutes to play in the third and Heather Tetro split a pair of free throws in the final seconds of the period to keep the Lady Raiders ahead 52-40 at the start of the fourth quarter.

Johnson laid one in to make it a 54-40 game and McSwain caught fire after that, scoring nine straight points to stretch Good Hope’s lead to 63-43 with just over three minutes remaining. Bailey Tetro buried a three to make it a 66-43 game and Johnson laid one more in with less than two minutes on the clock to wrap up a 68-45 win over the Lady Tigers.

McSwain racked up a game-high 30 points in the win and pulled down eight rebounds. Maddox finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds and Johnson added eight points for the Lady Raiders.

Good Hope will be back on the court at Wallace State Wednesday at 4 p.m. to face either Priceville or Hamilton in the Northwest Regional Finals.

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