Bearcats win close one; Lady Bearcats stumble

Josh McBrayer

CULLMAN – In the final game before Thanksgiving tournament play starts on Wednesday, Cullman played host to the Golden Eagles of Athens in boys’ and girls’ action.

Cullman 70, Athens 64

In what turned out to be a run and gun shoot-out, it was the Cullman Bearcats picking up the win and heading into the 50th Annual Holly Pond Thanksgiving Tournament on a high note.

Cullman quickly lit up the scoreboard first on a bucket by Dylan Finch. Athens quickly answered with two points from J. Williams and they were off to the races. The Bearcats built a lead as large at seven, but Athens would not go away and stayed close the entire quarter, tying the score at 15 with less than 30 seconds left in the first frame. However, it was the Cats who had the last possession of the quarter and made the most of it, knocking down a basket as time expired to establish a 17-15 lead after the first eight minutes.

The second quarter belonged to Athens as the Golden Eagles grabbed their first lead of the night on a 3-point basket by Cam Turner and they never looked back. Athens outscored Cullman 8-4 down the stretch to take a 32-26 lead to the locker room at halftime.

Athens looked to build on their first-half lead at the start of the third quarter with a basket by Mike Brown to push the lead to eight but Cullman was quick to answer. The Cats strung together six unanswered points to pull within two. Midway through the quarter they took the lead on a three ball from Cooper Beck. The action went back and forth the rest of the quarter with Athens tying the score at 49, but once again Cullman had the last shot and it was Finch who made the most of it, draining a three to give Cullman a 52-49 lead that they did not relinquish.

Cullman is known for head coach Bobby Myer’s Fast32 philosophy, but his team also knows how to slow the game down and dictate the pace of play and that is exactly what they did in the fourth. The Bearcats held the ball and looked only for high percentage shots for the rest of the fourth as Athens could get close but not take the lead. The Bearcats held on to win 70-64.


Athens 62, Cullman 33 (Girls)

Athens jumped out to a quick lead in the girls’ contest with Alexis Woods establishing her dominance in the paint early, scoring the first eight Golden Eagle points. Cullman countered with points from Anna Evans, Victoria Barker, Sierra Easterwood and Anna Kathrine Eastman to keep the game close, with Cullman down just four after the first. Athens turned up the heat in the second, scoring 22 points and holding the Lady Cats to just five. Leading the charge for the Golden Eagles was Woods with six and Korey Vance with four.

Coming out of the locker room, Athens continued to apply pressure and extended a 21-point lead to 26. Cullman’s Evans had eight of the 12 Cullman points in the quarter. On a bucket by Woods at the 5:47 mark, Athens took a 30-point lead to start a hot clock that ran for the remainder of the quarter. Despite the hard play from whistle to whistle from Cullman, Athens came away with the 62-33 victory.


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