West Point's ninth-grade boys are back in familiar territory once again.
The Warriors wrapped up their third straight appearance in a Cullman County Basketball Tournament title contest Wednesday with a dominant 43-22 triumph versus Good Hope inside Tom Drake Coliseum.
Coach Jimmy Harbison's squad will now turn its attention to the main event — a chance at a third consecutive county crown.
"Defensively, we came out ready to play today," Harbison said. "I think all the kids realize this time of the year, you lose and you're done. I have no complaints about our defense. It was a big win for us."
West Point scored the first eight points of the game and outpaced the Raiders 19-5 in the first half on the back of a solid full-court press and salty half-court defense to all but ice this one early.
On offense, Connor Marsh and David Doss manned the paint with 11 and nine points apiece, respectively — Cameron Moore was the outside threat with 11 — as the Warriors were just too much team for Good Hope on the day.
"We try to go inside first, but when you do that, the guys have to hit open shots," said Harbison, whose team entered the tourney as the No. 1 seed. "The kids did a good job doing that and hitting those shots. When we do that, we're going to be alright."
The Maroon and White continued to hound and hassle the Red and White on defense to build a 22-point cushion heading into the fourth and final stanza.
Alex Brown and Aaron Bercaw each tallied three points for West Point, while Alexis Hernandez, Brandon Farley and Matthew Daniel all netted two apiece in the win.
For Good Hope, Reese Harbison had eight points. Jesse Lee tossed in five. Cohen White was good for four, Wesley Kelly made a trey and Kyle Calvert rounded out the scoring with a two-point basket late.
Next up for Harbison and Co. is a title matchup with Holly Pond, which defeated Fairview to set up a 1 vs. 2 finale.
"It's big for the kids," Harbison said "I tell them all the time I haven't hit a shot or gotten a rebound all year. It's all on them. They practiced hard all year and have a chance to finish their season off proud."
% The Times' Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 136 or at jwinfrey@ cullmantimes.com.