A long and enjoyable week of Cullman County tournament basketball has been sent to the memory banks.
Plenty of story lines were composed from the five divisions that competed in the seven-day affair at Wallace State's Tom Drake Coliseum.
Championships were claimed for the Good Hope Raiders for the first time in 10 years and for the West Point Lady Warriors, ending a 13-year drought of taking home the net and the championship trophy.
One community has a deep passion for basketball. It's West Point High School. The Warriors sent four teams to championship Saturday. A 70-67 loss in overtime Friday by the Warriors to Hanceville prevented a five for five opportunity.
Four of the five championship games were matchups of No. 1 vs. No. 2. The only one that wasn't, took place in the junior varsity with 3 seed West Point getting past 5 seed Vinemont.
Here is a look back at the week of county basketball seen through the eyes of Sportspage.
Varsity fab five:
Cole Maddox - Good Hope, Fred Ellis - Hanceville, Kolton Sapp - West Point, Noah Fendley - Good Hope, Romian Ponchon - Hanceville.
Varsity girls fab five:
Miriam Oldacre - West Point, Lexi Shadix - West Point, Mackenzie Carter - West Point, Elizabeth Hill - Cold Springs, Camryn Crider - Cold Springs, Payton Golden - Fairview.
Junior varsity fab five:
Logan Selby - West Point, Carter Thornton - West Point, Teague Whatley - Vinemont, Tanner Brown - Vinemont, Brodie Malcom - Hanceville.
Junior varsity girls fab five:
Sydney Smith - West Point, Braelee Quinn - West Point, Madison Bruer - Cold Springs, Lacey Rice - Cold Springs, Braylee Stallings - Holly Pond.
Freshmen fab five:
Sam Wheeler - West Point, Cade Simmons - West Point, Parker Martin - Fairview, Bryson Chamness - Fairview, Jayden Laney - West Point.
Adding a title to the family tree:
One well known family that has celebrated winning Cullman County titles since 1990 is the Welborn family. Coach Danny Welborn guided Good Hope to three titles between 1988 to 1993. His daughter, Tammy West, has taken Cold Springs to the top in their division seven times since she started coaching in 1996.
Now coach Welborn's son, John, is a varsity county champion. John handles the West Point Lady Warriors with his squad taking home the crown in a 50-48 victory over Fairview Saturday night.
The Welborn family now claims 11 county championships while the Jones' family from the West Point area has 12 as Randall Jones coached the Lady Warriors to seven championships, his daughter in law Regina (Bagwell) Jones four and his son Randy with one.
West Point Lady Warriors are at the top of Cullman County basketball for the first time since 2006. Good Hope Raiders broke a 9-year drought in winning the title Saturday night against Hanceville. The Raiders had back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010 and now is back at the top of the mountain in county hoops.
Just the facts:
West Point Lady Warriors are the fifth different school in capturing the Cullman County title since the 2012 season. Good Hope was on top of the sport that year, followed by Holly Pond for 2013, 2014 and 2015. Cold Springs broke the Lady Broncos' run in 2016 with Fairview winning back to back championships for 2017 and 2018.
At the same time in varsity ball, Good Hope is the sixth different school with the championship hardware inside its respective campus.
West Point won it in 2012, Fairview in 2013, Cold Springs 2014, Holly Pond 2015, Hanceville 2016, Holly Pond for 2017 and 2018 and Good Hope in 2019.
Father shares title honors with his children:
Michael Oldacre led the Good Hope Lady Raiders to three Cullman County titles. Now retired, Oldacre watched his daughters, Miriam and Micah, help West Point's Lady Warriors soar to the top in their respective division.
Not often does two from the same family make the County All-Tournament team. It happened Saturday evening when Miriam Oldacre and his sister, Micah, got a berth on the All-Tournament team. Miriam inserted her spot with 21 points in the semifinal victory over Cold Springs.
Micah came out shooting well in the final vs. Fairview and finished with 16 points, shooting 83 percent from the floor. Micah was three of four in three-point tries and had 12 points at halftime as West Point led 30-28.
These moments from 2019 tournament will not be forgotten any time soon:
1. Payton Golden's shot as time expires carries Fairview by Hanceville 45-43 in semifinal.
2. Ty Bellmon's 4 straight treys made in 2nd period pulls Hanceville from 20-9 deficit to West Point to 36-34 at the half.
3. Free throws by Tyler Thompson and Kolton Sapp in last 10 seconds lift West Point by Cold Springs 45-42. The Warriors were 1 of 6 prior to the four of four effort in crunch time.
4. Holly Pond Lady Broncos fought back from 21-0 first period deficit and 38-11 disadvantage to Cold Springs at half, outscoring the Lady Eagles 32-17 in the final 16:00 to challenge them, though falling 55-43.
5. Junior varsity upsets, No. 5 Vinemont over No. 1 Fairview 43-34, No. 7 Hanceville stuns No. 2 Good Hope 47-40.
6. Miriam Oldacre and Lexi Shadix scoring 21 points each in West Point's 68-58 semifinal win against Cold Springs. One night later, Cole Maddox and Noah Fendley netted 21 apiece for Good Hope in defeating Fairview 70-51.
7. Good Hope's 65-47 win over Hanceville in the final was the first time the Bulldogs had lost away from Lane Horton Gymnasium in 13 games.
8. Three-point shots at the buzzer by Holly Pond's Kyler Chaney and Fairview's Payton Golden not enough for victory. Holly Pond lost to Fairview 57-56 in the quarterfinals, Fairview Lady Aggies came up short to West Point 50-48.
9. West Point's JV Lady Warriors with dynamic duo of Sydney Smith scoring 20, Braelee Quinn 16 in 53-43 win in the finals over Cold Springs. They accounted for 67 percent of the scoring. Both were named to the All-Tournament team.
10. First-year coaches Justin Billings of Fairview Lady Aggies and Stephen Chandler of Hanceville Bulldogs getting their teams to the county championship game.
Lady Eagles 20-6, 3-3 county, 6-0 area
Eagles 14-8, 2-4 county, 6-0 area
Lady Bearcats 22-6, 2-1 area
Bearcats 18-9, 1-2 area
Lady Aggies 15-8, 5-1 county, 5-1 area
Aggies 6-14, 3-3 county, 1-5 area
Lady Raiders 3-17, 1-5 county, 1-5 area
Raiders 20-5, 6-0 county, 4-2 area
Lady Bulldogs 13-9, 4-2 county, 3-3 area
Bulldogs 20-5, 4-2 county, 6-0 area
Lady Broncos 10-12, 2-4 county, 6-0 area
Broncos 12-10, 3-3 county, 5-1 area
Lady Saints 3-15, 0-5 area
Saints 8-10, 2-3 area
Lady Eagles 5-21, 0-6 county, 1-5 area
Eagles 5-20, 0-6 county, 0-6 area
Lady Warriors 22-4, 6-0 county, 6-0 area
Warriors 11-14, 3-3 county, 2-4 area
Final week of regular season:
Monday: West Point at Jasper, Cold Springs at Vinemont
Tuesday: Cullman at Hartselle, Meek at St. Bernard, Danville at Good Hope, Arab at Holly Pond, Fairview at Mortimer Jordan.
Thursday: West Point at Fairview, Vinemont at Good Hope, Holly Pond at Randolph, Hanceville at Locust Fork.
Friday: Holly Pond at West Point, Good Hope at Cleveland, Locust Fork at Cold Springs, Cullman at Athens, Hanceville at Dora.
Photo 1: Cold Springs' Neely Ellison cheering for the Lady Eagles' JV in title game.
Photo 2: WKUL broadcasters Rich Jesse (L), Johnny Thornton and colleague Pete Kirby during the varsity girls title game Saturday night between West Point & Fairview.
Photo 3: Tom Drake Coliseum scoreboard in the West Point-Vinemont JV final.
Photo 4: Opening tip of the West Point vs. Fairview freshmen championship game.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton and Kim Kanaday.
HANCEVILLE - For the basketball season, the third week of January is what many look forward to.
The Cullman County basketball tournament.
The local sports spectacular is again at the best venue it can be, Wallace State's Tom Drake Coliseum.
From Monday through Saturday, it will be hard fought competition.
Sportspage is providing analysis on the varsity divisions.
From the Sportspage analysis, basketball in 2018-19 has seen a lot of good results. Teams have peaked at certain times. It's been the result of hard work and taking it into a game situation where they hit center stage this week.
Playing at the Coliseum raises the level of the tournament, only other county nearby that can experience a similar situation is the Marshall County Tournament at Snead State Community College. Plunkett-Wallace Gymnasium has seen an upgrade that brings plenty of inspiration for one week of county tournament excitement.
Parity has been seen in varsity play for this season. From analysis, half a dozen teams have the potential to put together three good nights of hoops and take home the huge hardware on the evening of January 26.
This is how Sportspage will analyze the 2019 Cullman County Varsity Tournament:
GOOD HOPE: # 1 seed
Raiders have variety of weapons with Cole Maddox and Drew Maddox the primary people. Hard efforts from Michael Lowe, Noah Fendley, Zach Phares and Matt Dixon help. So does a couple of youngsters in freshman Tanner Malin and sophomore Dawson Turner.
Good Hope is tempo, create from defense by forcing a quicker pace, getting the ball down the floor and go for drives to the hoop, or three-point shots.
Concern for Drew Adams' unit is consistency on offense, unforced mistakes and staying out of foul trouble to maintain proper rotation.
Good Hope has not been a 1 seed in some time. Can Raiders deal with everyone looking at them for being at the top of the mountain going in?
HANCEVILLE: # 2 seed
Bulldogs are one of several that is capable of coming out to be the best. Experience leads Hanceville. First-year coach Stephen Chandler has been around these guys when he was an assistant and also coached them in recent seasons in the JV.
Winning on a big stage has been something Fred Ellis, RJ Evans, Raiden Morgan and Zeke McDonald endured last season. Depth is provided by Damien Johnson and Romeal Simmons, plus newcomers in Ty Bellmon and Romain Ponchon from the backcourt to sprinting down the floor in fast break opportunities.
What Hanceville has to avoid is sloppy ball handling and play hard with a big lead, not pulling off the throttle. Good Hope took advantage of late game mistakes January 8 and soared above them to take the top seed.
Playing away from Lane Horton Gym will help. Hanceville has not lost a game as a road team so far this season in nine decisions.
WEST POINT: # 3 seed
Tough start for the Warriors has been re-routed with better performance and victories. A five-game losing streak got stopped right before Christmas. The Warriors have won six of their last eight games, including a 70-69 thriller at Russellville.
Kolton Sapp provides the scoring punch from deep range. Rylan Jones is steady at 6'4" for ball handling, scoring at times, plus his play in rebounding and defense. But Jones had his kneecap to pop out last Friday in a loss at the buzzer on the home floor to Russellville. His status for the quarterfinal game is questionable
Kobe Bowers and Tyler White have been on a steady dose of outside weapons, then the effects of Aubry Cleghorn and Tyler Thompson in the post.
Playing smooth is the quest for the Warriors as they were able to come out of a 3-way tie for the draw with Fairview and Holly Pond as the 3 seed, not having to be in the same bracket with Good Hope. But Randy Jones' Warriors still have potential road blocks in their side of the bracket.
Playing the 2nd half without Jones against Russellville served well for the Warriors overcoming a 10-point deficit to start the 4th quarter and take the game down to the final play of the evening.
FAIRVIEW: # 4 seed
New coach David Martin has put the Aggies on the floor of playing hard. The Aggies have fought through some injuries and head to the tournament with confidence.
Defeating Holly Pond on Tuesday has the Aggies understanding the process. Fairview was mired through a slump. The Aggies will utilize balance in the play of Luke Yarbrough, Dow Nichols, Austin Jackson, Zane Miller, Zane Miller, Conner Tipton and Sawyer Daniel.
The Aggies will need another game of balance in execution from offense, prevent easy opportunities for the opponent and take the momentum from the Holly Pond victory, knowing the Broncos will want to settle the score on the 1st day of the tournament.
HOLLY POND: # 5 seed
Winning is something the Broncos have seen for a good stretch in recent years. They are the defending county champion. Kyler Chaney has been as productive as any varsity player in the county, night in, night out.
He plays with determination of not being denied, no matter if he has the ball or defending his basket.
Tyler Boatright, plus Cooper Jones, Garrett Rowell and Devyn Tankersley have followed his lead and the Broncos have gone 8-3 in their last 11 games.
A loss on Tuesday to Fairview can serve a purpose for Mitch Morris' Broncos with the opportunity to rewrite a few items from the contest. Playing at a neutral site will fuel the intense drama of which team from the East side of the county, will head on to a semifinal encounter with top seed Good Hope.
COLD SPRINGS: # 6 seed
Certainly the 6th seed is not the makeup of the Cold Springs Eagles. The Eagles have knocked off Hanceville, Fairview and Holly Pond. The addition of Landon Freeman provides the Eagles a scoring threat every time he touches the ball. Adam Hill works hard in the post. The Eagles need to display consistency in shooting from different locations of the floor and cut down on turnovers.
They play a control brand of basketball and with 14 victories going into the tournament, Tim Willoughby has seen his Eagles soar again, after suffering through a challenging 2017-18 season.
VINEMONT: #7 seed
With new coach Preston Boyd, the Eagles are still dealing with an uphill battle. A young team that lost guard Jack Hill before the season to a torn ACL was not good news.
Katch Johnson is a weapon that can deliver from long range and attack the defense with short range effectiveness. But having plenty of scoring punch to go with Johnson is an item Boyd is working on and will for the rest of the season.
Vinemont can't let the opposition get into a scoring run, something that has been a part of the picture for Boyd's first season as a varsity coach.
Up-tempo teams have went right at Vinemont in recent games. The Eagles must start well in order to stay with No. 2 Hanceville and try to upset the extremely-talented Bulldogs.
WEST POINT: # 1 seed
Experience in different positions is a boost to the Lady Warriors' success this season. But losing PG Brooke Brownfield and F Olivia Ball to ACL injuries, has created a change in the personnel.
Molly Pendley moved into Ball's starting position, while the ball handling has been under the direction of Micah Oldacre. Her sister Miriam, plus Lexi Shadix and Mackenzie Carter, key the offense. Youngsters like Sydney Smith, Sheridan Bowers and Maci Hamby provide depth to this unit that has not lost to a county school all season.
Having a game with a strong Deshler team at Wallace on Monday will allow the Lady Warriors to get their game plan set for a Thursday semifinal. The Monday game will not throw the timing of John Welborn's squad off. If they didn't play ojn MLK Day, the Lady Warriors would not be on the floor for a game situation in six days.
FAIRVIEW: # 2 seed
Justin Billings has stepped into directing the Lady Aggies for the first season with good results. An early season victory against Cold Springs and a win vs. Hanceville vaulted the Lady Aggies near the top.
Fairview came into 2018-19 with limited playing experience. Payton Golden was the lone one back from last season's county championship unit.
The rest of the team plays hard and is growing in varsity experience every time out. Katie Ball, Daisy Manasco, Isabella McGukin, Maddie Yeager and Molly McKelvy deliver in different phases of the game.
Quality non-county wins in recent weeks over Brewer and Oneonta allows the team to go into the county with spirit and belief. A close win last Tuesday against Holly Pond sends a message, they are in business to win by keeping the battle close when the game enters crunch time.
Good play in the backcourt and shooting well from the foul line will be items the Lady Aggies seek to utilize in the quest of working their through their side of the bracket to a championship appearance for the rookie coach.
HANCEVILLE: # 3 seed
Good fortunes ride on the shoulders of the Lady Bulldogs, now that Cassidy Campbell has returned from torn ligaments last summer.
That gives the Lady Bulldogs another weapon to take plenty of pressure off PG Kelly Pickett. Pickett has been seeing plenty of double teams and box and one defense on her in recent weeks.
Pickett still has ability to split defenders, drive to the basket, score, or head to the foul line. Pickett was 9 of 11 at the stripe in a recent upset of No. 8 Glencoe in 3A, Area 12 play.
Supporting these two are Kierra Merriweather, Malia Howell, plus good play from youngsters Jessica Thompson and Victoria Stanley in shooting the long ball.
Coach Christina Watson must have her team cut down on unforced mistakes on offense and keep opponents from displaying spurts that forces the Lady Bulldogs to play catch up ball.
COLD SPRINGS: # 4 seed
They are seeded fourth in this year's county tournament. Many do believe they can and will make a statement in the event. Their strength is consistency from the three-point area, led by Camryn Crider, with help from Toni West and Elizabeth Hill. West is very mature in her sophomore season at point guard, which allows Crider to roam the corners and set up her shooting stroke.
Hill is a challenge for her ability to score from the perimeter and good skills on drives to the hoop 15 feet away.
Neely Ellison is back after ACL surgery, missing the second half of last season. Kinley Campbell provides the team depth from the wing and on defense, plus the presence of 6'1" Lina Liekfield can force teams to change their shots in the paint and try to go to war with her in the art of rebounding.
Cold Springs knows the value of playing at the Coliseum, having wins against Lauderdale County December 21 and Phillips January 5.
This is familiar territory for Tammy West's team. A one step at a time approach is how the Lady Eagles see it in the opportunity of returning to the championship round.
HOLLY POND: # 5 seed
Progress has been witnessed for the Lady Broncos in their second season under Andrew Kelly. Experience is more displayed this season with the results of an improved win total and a competitive attitude.
Balance carries the Lady Broncos while operating on offense with Kirsten Campbell, Kara Hollis, Maddie Heatherly, Tess Duke and Elizabeth Miller. Campbell attacks from the top, Heatherly and Miller work in side while Hollis and Duke provide scoring from the outside.
Fairview saw what Holly Pond can do last week in almost upsetting the Lady Aggies at Joe Shults Gym. Holly Pond has been competitive with the likes of Hanceville, Cold Springs and has a pair of victories over Good Hope.
Taking care of the opposition in 3A, Area 13 motivates the Lady Broncos in showing potential of reaching the final four, while in the same bracket with Cold Springs and West Point.
GOOD HOPE: # 6 seed
Seeing a bulk of the talent leave by graduation, Good Hope has done what it can to keep the head above the water. Limited starting and game experience has been the story for the squad this year.
Coach Amanda Swann has good floor leader in Savanna Derrick, while her sister Rudi, works the # 2 guard position. Young on the front line and lack of depth is the trial and tribulation for the Lady Raiders.
Avoiding a slow start and having very few miscues on offense, plus getting back and defending the basket will be keys for the Lady Raiders in their quest to upset No. 3 Hanceville in the quarterfinal round.
VINEMONT: # 7 seed
First-year coach James Brown has personnel with game experience. But inconsistency has slowed the process in seeking to raise the number of victories from very few in recent seasons.
Bailey Priess sparks the offense from the point guard slot, Sadie Stanley can deliver from the perimeter, Kanasta Daniel and Madysen Hacker work hard in the low post.
Getting shots to fall with the depth perception of Tom Drake Coliseum will be something the Lady Eagles will have to display once tip off begins with a Fairview team that will try to create tempo against them from pressure defense and transition.
Trying to prevent scoring lapses and multiple turnovers will determine the fate of the Lady Eagles, seeking a victory vs. a county opponent for the first time this season.
Fairview vs. Vinemont 6:45 p.m. (G)
Fairview vs. Holly Pond 8:00 p.m.
Hanceville vs. Good Hope 6:15 p.m. (G)
West Point vs. Cold Springs 7:30 p.m.
Cold Springs vs. Holly Pond 6:15 p.m. (G)
Hanceville vs. Vinemont 7:30 p.m.
West Point vs. Cold Springs or Holly Pond 6:15 p.m. (G) (SF)
Fairview or Vinemont vs. Hanceville or Good Hope 7:30 p.m. (G) (SF)
Good Hope vs. Fairview or Holly Pond 6:15 p.m. (SF)
West Point or Cold Springs vs. Hanceville or Vinemont 7:30 p.m. (SF)
Championship (G) 5:30 p.m.
Championship 7:00 p.m.
All games will be carried live on WKUL-FM (92.1) and the WKUL app.
Admission to the tournament is $6.00 per day.
Sportspage file photo of Cold Springs vs. West Point in 2018 girls semifinal.
Photo by Johnny Thornton
It's the stretch run for local high school basketball.
The seven teams in the Cullman County school system will be looking to next week when the county tournament convenes at Wallace State's Tom Drake Coliseum.
The pairings are set for the sports spectacular that occurs regularly during the third week of January.
All teams will look to this week as a chance to tune up from all aspects in quest of to be the best on the local hardwood for 2019.
Beside focusing on the county, the locals are locked in with area tournament competition. That is their quest when postseason play begins the week of February 4-9 with area tournament games.
The area champion and runner-up in all classes will head to the Sub Regional on February 11 for girls and 12th for varsity. Regional tournament will be February 14-20 with the Northwest at Wallace State and the Northeast to be played at Jacksonville State University.
As far as the area standings are concerned, the Cold Springs Lady Eagles and Eagles have clinched home court for 2A, Area 12. Both are 6-0, finishing area play by winning at West End in Walnut Grove this past Friday.
Holly Pond Broncos and Lady Broncos have 4-0 records in 3A, Area 13. A win by the pair at Vinemont Thursday will send them into the postseason as area hosts.
Fairview Lady Aggies and the Oneonta Lady Redskins have completed 4A, Area 12 games and are 5-1. Both split the series with Fairview upsetting Oneonta last Tuesday at home 66-45. A coin flip will be determined to see who will get the opportunity of hosting the area tournament.
Hanceville Bulldogs need to win Friday in Blountsville to claim the regular season crown in 3A, Area 12. Hanceville is 5-0 after a hard fought 71-53 victory over Susan Moore January 11. J.B. Pennington stayed on the heels by getting past Glencoe 62-59. The Tigers have a 4-1 record in the area.
West Point Lady Warriors buried the Hamilton Lady Aggies with 20 field goals from three-point range last Friday, tying a state record. West Point won 82-42 to go 4-0 in 5A, Area 14.
A win Monday night for the Lady Warriors in Moulton against Lawrence County will eliminate everyone else from contending for the regular season area title.
These are the squads in the Sportspage coverage area that are in position of hosting the first round of the playoff segment, area tournament competition.
Lady Eagles 18-5, 3-3 county, 6-0 area
Eagles 14-7, 2-4 county, 6-0 area
Lady Bearcats 17-6, 0-1 area
Bearcats 15-7, 0-1 area
Lady Aggies 12-7, 5-1 county, 5-1 area
Aggies 4-13, 3-3 county, 1-5 area
Lady Raiders 2-14, 1-5 county, 0-5 area
Raiders 15-5, 6-0 county, 3-2 area
Lady Bulldogs 10-8, 4-2 county, 2-3 area
Bulldogs 16-4, 4-2 county, 5-0 area
Lady Broncos 9-10, 2-4 county, 4-0 area
Broncos 11-8, 3-3 county, 4-0 area
Lady Saints 2-14, 0-5 area
Saints 8-6, 2-3 area
Lady Eagles 4-17, 0-6 county, 1-4 area
Eagles 4-17, 0-6 county, 0-4 area
Lady Warriors 17-3, 6-0 county, 4-0 area
Warriors 9-11, 3-3 county, 1-3 area
RECAP OF EXCITEMENT FROM WEEK OF JANUARY 8-11:
Cullman Bearcats 79-77 win over Athens in 2 OT.
Good Hope Raiders edge Hanceville 60-55 to claim No. 1 seed for county tournament.
Fairview Lady Aggies upset Oneonta in 4A, Area 12 play.
St. Bernard Saints win at Falkville to go 8-5 on season.
Hanceville Bulldogs post back to back wins against schools from Blount County Jan. 10-11.
West Point Lady Warriors nail 20 treys against Hamilton, go 4-0 in 5A, Area 14.
WILL NOT PLAY IN THE MARTIN LUTHER KING CLASSIC:
HANCEVILLE - Fairview Lady Aggies were scheduled to play Deshler in the Martin Luther King Classic January 21 at Tom Drake Coliseum.
But coach Justin Billings told Sportspage at the draw of the Cullman County Tournament, the Lady Aggies will bypass that assignment, due to playing Monday evening vs. Vinemont in round one of the county tournament.
There has been no report on if a replacement has been found to play Deshler, or the Classic will have one less game on the schedule.
THIS WEEK ON THE HARDWOOD (January 14-19):
Cleveland at Good Hope (HC)
West Point at Lawrence Co
West End at Vinemont
Southeastern at St. Bernard
Cullman at Decatur
Holly Pond at Fairview
Hanceville at Vinemont
St. Bernard at Lynn
Hartselle at West Point
Arab at Cullman
Good Hope at Cold Springs
Holly Pond at Vinemont
Russellville at West Point (WKUL-FM)
Ashville at Good Hope
Cullman at Jasper
New Hope at Holly Pond
Hanceville at J.B. Pennington
Photo of opening tip between Good Hope (red) and Fairview January 3 at Fairview.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton
With the holidays out of the way, local basketball teams can begin to focus on two following tasks, the upcoming Cullman County High School tournament and area play.
Entering the first full week of January, we have 11 teams covered by Sportspage regularly with winning records.
From the past weekend, success was well garnished by our local teams against outside competition. Through games on Friday and Saturday, the county displayed an 11-4 record for a winning percentage of .733.
Cold Springs, Hanceville, Holly Pond and West Point swept the competition in girls and varsity play Friday evening. On Saturday, wins by Cold Springs girls, Cullman, Cullman girls in playing at neutral sites carried plenty of momentum for the ball clubs to the new week.
Good Hope was the only school to not achieve a victory Saturday. But playing No. 1 Decatur Heritage from 1A is no easy task, whether your school is in the small classifications, or playing in the higher level of 5A and above.
This week will be the pairings for the Cullman County Tournament. That is Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. inside the Board of Education Central Office (for coaches, administration and media only).
Before the draw, some unfinished business must be taken care of.
The No. 1 seed in the varsity is up for grabs with Good Hope going to Hanceville Tuesday.
Good Hope is 5-0 in county games, Hanceville has a 4-1 mark. The winner takes the top seed, the loser is the 2nd seed.
Entering the draw, Holly Pond, Fairview and West Point are 3-3, beating up on one another. That will have to be settled with a probable coin toss to be the process for the tiebreaker.
As far as the girls pairings, they are locked in with West Point 1st, Fairview 2nd, Hanceville 3rd, Cold Springs 4th, Holly Pond 5th, Good Hope 6th and Vinemont 7th.
Sportspage will have all of the pairings posted Wednesday evening, once they are drawn inside the county board office.
What's ahead for week of January 8-11:
CULLMAN: 6A, Area 14 games Friday at home vs. rival Hartselle. This is the area opener for the Lady Bearcats and Bearcats. A solid tune up for the Cullman teams will be Tuesday on the home floor vs. the Athens Golden Eagles.
COLD SPRINGS: 2A, Area 12 games at Southeastern Tuesday, West End Friday. The Lady Eagles and Eagles are 4-0 in area play and on the verge of wrapping up the top spot for the tournament in which they will both host in closing out as the No. 1 team in area play.
FAIRVIEW: Lady Aggies and Aggies will try to slow down Oneonta at home Tuesday in 4A, Area 12. Lady Aggies stand 3-1 in the area, trailing Oneonta who is undefeated in area games. Aggies are 1-3, but optimistic of a possible upset in the making.
GOOD HOPE: Raiders deal with a game in Hanceville Tuesday for top seed to the county tournament, then at Oneonta Friday in 4A, Area 12. Raiders are 2nd in the area standings to Oneonta and have to win, or the Redskins are probable regular season area champs.
HANCEVILLE: Bulldogs Good Hope to visit Tuesday with No. 1 seed in the county hanging in the balance. Then the Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs have back to back assignments against teams from Blount County at Lane Horton Gym.
Locust Fork will face them on Thursday and Susan Moore comes a calling for Friday. The Susan Moore games are 3A, Area 12 with Hanceville on top in the area and the Lady Bulldogs tied with Glencoe in 2nd place at 2-2, behind undefeated Susan Moore.
A Hanceville varsity victory, along with a Glencoe win over J.B. Pennington, will give the Bulldogs the regular season area title. Hanceville is 4-0 in the area, Pennington is 2-1 entering the week.
The Susan Moore-Hanceville games will be carried live on WKUL-FM (92.1) Friday at 6:00 p.m. and 7:30.
WEST POINT: Lady Warriors and Warriors have one game for the week, a trip to Hamilton on Friday for 5A, Area 14 action. West Point Lady Warriors 3-0 after romping Russellville last Friday. The Lady Warriors are now having to play without Olivia Ball, who is out for the remainder of the season, recovering from ACL surgery.
West Point is still in contention for the top spot in the area, despite a 1-2 record. The Warriors must win out in order to strengthen their chances of hosting in the playoffs.
Lady Eagles 16-5, 3-3 county, 4-0 area
Eagles 12-7, 2-4 county, 4-0 area
Lady Bearcats 17-4, 0-0 area
Bearcats 14-6, 0-0 area
Lady Aggies 10-7, 5-1 county, 3-1 area
Aggies 4-11, 3-3 county, 1-3 area
Lady Raiders 2-11, 1-4 county, 0-4 area
Raiders 13-4, 5-0 county, 3-1 area
Lady Bulldogs 9-6, 3-2 county, 2-2 area
Bulldogs 14-3, 4-1 county, 4-0 area
Lady Broncos 7-8, 2-4 county, 4-0 area
Broncos 11-7, 3-3 county, 4-0 area
Lady Saints 2-11, 0-3 area
Saints 6-5, 1-2 area
Lady Eagles 1-16, 0-6 county, 0-3 area
Eagles 4-15, 0-6 county, 0-3 area
Lady Warriors 16-3, 6-0 county, 3-0 area
Warriors 9-10, 3-3 county, 1-2 area
IMPACT GAMES THIS WEEK:
Good Hope at Hanceville 6:00 (G), 7:30
Athens at Cullman 6:00 (G), 7:30
Oneonta at Fairview 6:00 (G), 7:30
Holly Pond at Good Hope 6:30 (G), 7:45
Locust Fork at Hanceville 6:00 (G), 7:30
Vinemont at St. Bernard 6:00 (G), 7:30
Hartselle at Cullman 6:00 (G), 7:30
Susan Moore at Hanceville 6:00 (G), 7:30 (WKUL-FM)
West Point at Hamilton 6:00 (G), 7:30
Decatur Heritage at St. Bernard 6:00 (G), 7:30
Photo of Hanceville's Fred Ellis (0) at the foul line January 4 in 65-51 win over Glencoe.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton