Cullman’s Deadly Duo Leads Bearcats to Victory

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WEST POINT – Seth Swalve and Gage Goodwin are a one-two punch for the Cullman Bearcats offensively. The two seniors made it count in the second half to help their squad turn back West Point 67-57 Friday night at Jim Boyd Gymnasium.

Both combined for 24 points in the second half and shot 100 percent combined from the foul line in the fourth quarter. Their leadership enabled the Bearcats to pull away and end the regular season with 19 victories and momentum going into the 6A playoffs next week.

Cullman will play the Area 15 Tournament at Austin High School, getting an assignment in the semifinal round with Decatur. A win gets the Bearcats qualified for the sub-regional the following week at a site to be determined.

The Bearcats overcame a 13-12 first period deficit to the Warriors, leading 34-26 at the half by outscoring West Point 22-13 in the second quarter.

Goodwin and Swalve had just 10 points at the break, but the key for the Cullman offense was Jacob Heatherly’s three shots from three-point range, two in the final 2:00 of the first half to extend the lead for the visitors.

Swalve started to heat up with eight in the third as Cullman kept the lead secured, holding a 47-36 advantage when time ran out.

Then in the fourth, Goodwin went to work with 10 points, scoring six from the line while Swalve added six and was four of four at the stripe.

Swalve finished the game with 18 points, Goodwin 16, Heatherly and Fletcher Reeling nine apiece.

The Bearcats have won their last three games following a slight slump in the later part of January.

Tanner Rusk hit 18 in a losing cause for the Warriors (14-12) and reached 1,000 points in his career. He was honored by the school after the game. Seth Parker delivered 13 points with Kobe Smith getting eight.

The Warriors will try to end a two-game losing streak when they host the 5A, Area 14 Tournament on Tuesday. West Point has Fairview, who has won four in a row, for a 6 p.m. game in the opening round.

 

Cullman 65, West Point 59 (Girls):

With a 70 percent free throw accuracy (26-37) and four double-digit scorers, the Lady Bearcats ended Jessica Posey’s first regular season with a hard fought victory on the West Point campus.

Posey watched Taiya Ponder, Christina Skinner and Kennedy Wren combine to shoot 21 of 24 from the line with Ponder the most effective by knocking down nine of 10 including eight in a row.

Cullman led 31-28 at the half and was able to stay in front of West Point, ending the third with a 45-43 cushion. Half of the 20 points in the fourth for Cullman were at the foul line with Ponder getting four down in crunch time to secure the fourth win of the season for the Lady ‘Cats.

Ponder keyed the scoring with 14, Skinner scored 14, Anna Evans had 13 and Victoria Barker 10. Wren’s scoring was from the line with five of six in the second quarter.

Freshman Olivia Ball put on a shooting clinic for West Point, scoring 20 in her last home game, hitting five shots from three-point territory. Jeri Beasley accounted for 11 in her final game as a senior for the Lady Warriors at home with seventh-grader Alexia Shaddix scoring 10 and senior Tess Hembree knocking down seven.