Forged by fire. That’s how the most dangerous weapons are formed. They must go through the flames and take hit after hit in order to be molded into something that can take down any foe. That’s this year’s path for a Good Hope team that is accustomed to racking up wins. The Raiders have gone through a gauntlet of a schedule that may have them 10-9, but you won’t find a team that is more battle tested. 

The adversity this team has faced started before the season even began. While most teams in the county were able to begin basketball practice with a full roster by the second week of November, Good Hope wasn’t at full power until their fourth game of the year on November 29th. Even with that they received their star senior, Tanner Malin, with a banged up shoulder after leading Good Hope into the 3rd round of the playoffs in football.

As they began to look for consistency and rhythm in December, sickness derailed that possibility just as they approached the meat of their schedule. The month gave them a big region matchup against Oneonta, home games against Fultondale and Demopolis, and a Christmas tournament in Florida where they faced off against tough competition from Kentucky and Georgia, all of which they loss.

A rare three game losing streak extended to four coming into January with a loss to the Cullman County Tournament one seed, the Fairview Aggies. Good Hope faced a fifth straight loss, down 22 points to 4A No. 6  Hanceville, when the season hit a turning point. “We didn’t even talk basketball in the huddle going into the 4th quarter,” said Raider head coach Drew Adams. “I asked them what kind of team they were going to be. I challenged them and they responded and battled their guts out.”

They came up short in that game, losing by six, but battled to outscore the Bulldogs by 16 in the final frame. They took that momentum into the next two games, knocking off Cordova and Curry by a total of 33 points. Next Good Hope will face off against Oneonta at home this Friday at 7:30pm in our first “Game of the Week.” 

Coach Adams added, “We struggled knocking down shots to start the year, but we’re starting to take smarter shots and we’re seeing it really make a difference. If we can make shots, with the way our defense has been getting after it, we can give ourselves a chance to win some games down the stretch.”

“Tanner’s getting healthy. Kmal Bell has been impacting the game on both sides for us this year. And Tyler Cone, who is just a freshmen has been gaining confidence every week and has been knocking down a lot of shots. We’re excited for the challenges ahead with the group we’ve got.”

With a win it will keep their hopes of hosting a second straight area tournament alive. Hanceville travels to Oneonta on January 18th, a game Good Hope needs Oneonta to win. Then the Raiders will travel to Hanceville to play for a chance to force a three way tie for first in the region, but all of that starts with getting a win Friday night taking another hit in a fight in the flames.