2017 Cullman County Basketball Tournament Memorable moments from this year’s county tournament | CullmanSense

2017 Cullman County Basketball Tournament

Memorable moments from this year’s county tournament

Bill Piper

HANCEVILLE - Cullman County Schools and Wallace State Community College have had a partnership for more than a quarter of a century. In January 1993, the Hanceville-based college reached an agreement with the schools, allowing the county high school basketball tournament to be played at its beautiful new facility, Tom Drake Coliseum.

The athletic arena was just four months old when the county schools took their ever-popular county tournament to a neutral site, ending a long run of rotating it from one school to another each year.

The tournament has experienced 25 years of wonderful moments, with the latest were added from Saturday's championship play in five different divisions.

The finale saw the Holly Pond Broncos, a team that has completely dominated the county this season, execute their game plan once more and prevail over Cold Springs, 86-59.

Currently second in the Class 3A state rankings, the Broncos have gone 13-0 against county opposition, defeating the Eagles three times, once at home, once at Cold Springs and now at a neutral venue.

Many fans have high expectations that the Broncos will return to the Coliseum the week of Feb. 16-22 and participate in the AHSAA Northwest Regional.

The county tournament crown for Mitch Morris's Broncos can be compared to a power like Kentucky winning the SEC title, then going through the NCAA Tournament and on to the national championship.

Step two for the Broncos will be the following week with the 3A, Area 11 Tournament at Holly Pond, then the sub-regional, the regional and the Final Four at Legacy Arena in Birmingham.

Celebration lasted throughout the weekend for the Fairview girls’ basketball program. The varsity and junior varsity excelled on the same day with the Lady Aggies being crowned Cullman County varsity champions for the first time since 1982.

Fairview downed defending champion Cold Springs 51-37 in a game the Lady Aggies got control of in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lady Eagles 21-12 with balanced scoring from five players and a defense that slowed up the potent Cold Springs attack as the contest reached crunch time.

Earlier in the day, the Fairview JV girls defeated West Point 39-29. Combine the two records, with Mary Hartline coaching both, the Lady Aggies have won 40 of 47 games. The varsity is now 22-6, a school record for wins in a single season, with the JV completing the year at 18-1.

Hartline became the second varsity girls’ player to win the county tournament as a participant, and later, a coach. She was on Good Hope's championship team in 2004 and the winner of the Bill Shelton Award that season.

The first to do this was Regina Jones at West Point when she played for the Lady Warriors in 1989 and five years later, was in charge of the team on the sidelines. Jones was the first winner of the Shelton Award when it was created in '89.

Holly Pond's varsity is almost perfect; the West Point freshmen displayed perfection.

Led by coach Jimmy Harbison, the freshmen scored a 46-35 championship win against Fairview to complete a perfect season at 21-0.

This can indicate the potential of great basketball for the Warriors in the future when these freshmen reach the varsity level.

Another team that will not forget Saturday is Good Hope's junior varsity.

It can go back to the day of the draw when the Raiders, West Point and Holly Pond each had a 5-1 record of beating up on each other.

The process to seed was determined by a coin toss, with Good Hope prevailing, taking the No. 1 seed and having one less game to get to the championship.

Good Hope fought off West Point 37-28 in its first year of Justin Aby leading the Raiders, with assistance on the sideline by new varsity coach Drew Adams.

The Raiders say goodbye to the season at 15-2, defeating a program that has been one of the best in junior varsity for a long time under the direction of Scott Brown.

One week of regular season play remains. Varsity teams now have the hardwood to themselves with the freshmen and JV seasons officially over.

Most are playing at least twice this week and want to have a good week of performance, leading into postseason when the area tournaments take center stage the week of Feb. 6-11.

Final week of local regular season basketball:

  • MONDAY: New Hope at Holly Pond, Cold Springs at Vinemont, West Point at Lawrence County, Hanceville at Dora
  • TUESDAY: Good Hope at Fairview, West Point at Cold Springs, Locust Fork at Hanceville, Cullman at Athens
  • THURSDAY: Good Hope at Vinemont, Fairview at Brewer, Cullman at Hartselle
  • FRIDAY: Holly Pond at West Point, Hanceville at Good Hope, St. Bernard at Addison, Cold Springs at Curry

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  • Bill Piper
  • Bill Piper
  • Bill Piper