GOOD HOPE —
Good Hope’s girls had a message Friday for all the detractors that have tried to bring them down this season — and it wasn’t “Be Mine.”
Following a determined 46-32 sub-regional win over Hamilton, it was more like “C U Later,” as the Lady Raiders closed out their home gym and clinched a regional contest at Wallace State.
Without Kayla Tillman, without Darcie Wilson, Cara Goodwin or Savannah Fendley — oh, and don’t forget 2012 graduate Nina Mills — this batch of Red and White girls weren’t supposed to amount to much. That’s what they’d been told by critics, at least.
Now look at them. They’re 20-11 and on their way to the Class 3A Northwest Regional Tournament for the ninth time in the last 13 seasons. Good Hope will take the floor at Tom Drake Coliseum Thursday at noon against top-ranked Lauderdale County (34-0).
“We’ve gotten better as the year’s gone on,” Raider coach Michael Oldacre said. “I’m happy for the girls because they felt like people didn’t think they could make it this year. They were kind of out to prove them wrong.”
Celest Whisenant skirted around foul trouble en route to a 14-point performance in the victory. Katelyn Bishop joined the double-digit club with 11 points, while Kacy Thomas was barely denied membership with nine.
Oldacre was pleased with the way his guards — Bishop, Thomas and Kayla Scott — handled Hamilton’s press. On offense, he had high praise for the way Thomas ran the show.
“I thought we executed well and played our usual good defensive game,” the coach said. “I was proud of the girls tonight.”
Kaylee Maddox corraled five points; Alex Flanigan, four; and Scott, three.
Flanigan’s offensive output wasn’t all Oldacre raved about concerning the junior.
“She came off the bench and played a really big role for us,” he said of the center. “She played really good defense.”
Bailey Davis scored 14 points for the Aggies, who were held to six points in each of the first two quarters and nine in the third.
% The Times’ sports editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.