PREP BASKETBALL: Bearcats, Lady Bearcats collect home wins over John Carroll; Middle School County Tournament update

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Cullman's Regan Quattlebaum attacks the basket in the Lady Bearcats' 52-40 win over John Carroll Tuesday night. (Nick Griffin for the Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – The Cavaliers of John Carroll made the trip up to Cullman High School Tuesday night and played well, but the Bearcats and Lady Bearcats sent them home with a pair of losses. The girls knocked off the Lady Cavs 52-40 while the boys outpaced John Carroll 54-40. With those wins, both the Bearcats and Lady Bearcats move to 11-1 on the season.

Cullman 52 – John Carroll 40 (varsity girls)

No one scored a bucket in this one until midway through the first quarter when the Lady Cavs hit a three to take an early lead, but Cullman was able to keep things very close by the end of the period. Sadie Young knocked down a three at the first-quarter buzzer to cut the John Carroll lead to just 9-7 going into the second.

The Lady Bearcats took their first lead of the night on a fast break layup from Anna Grace Murphy that made it 12-11 early in the second. A little later in the second, Young stretched that lead to 20-13 after hitting back-to-back three-point shots and by the half, Cullman had taken a 25-15 lead.

Turnovers made it tough to get things going on the offensive end for the Lady Bearcats, but their defense kept them ahead in the second half. The Lady Cavs made it a 36-32 game early in the fourth quarter but couldn’t get any closer than that. Thanks to a stout defensive effort and free-throw shooting, Cullman was able to hold off John Carroll and pull away to win it 52-40.

AK Eastman led the Lady Bearcats in scoring with 12 points, followed closely by Young who finished with 10 and Murphy who finished with eight.

After the game, Cullman Head Coach Josh Hembree said he was proud of the way his team fought and got the win but wants to see more consistency from his squad.

“We had spurts where we really played good basketball and we executed defensively and knocked down shots offensively, but there were also a lot of spurts where we didn’t play well,” Hembree said. “We would have three or four girls busting their tails and then one girl that was just not on the same page with everybody and it was kind of like that all night so that’s frustrating as a coach, but you never want to make a win feel like a loss. I’m proud of my girls for being able to get the win; we’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to make sure we’re getting a little better every day. John Carroll is a very well-coached, disciplined team and Coach (Ronald) Steele does a great job with those girls and its good to get a win with them coming into our place.”

The Lady Bearcats will go for win number 12 when they host Huntsville this Friday.

Cullman 54 – John Carroll 40 (varsity boys)

Not unlike the Lady Bearcats, the ‘Cats struggled to get on the scoreboard early in the game but still held onto a 12-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Cullman still wasn’t fully clicking on the offensive end in the second period, but its smothering defense allowed it to build a lead. A put-back layup and a three-pointer from Jaden Orr stretched the Bearcat lead to 30-11 inside of two minutes until halftime and by the break, the 'Cats were on top 33-13.

The offense slowed back down for Cullman in the third quarter and John Carroll was able to chip away at the lead. The Bearcats kept the Cavs at arms-length, but the deficit had shrunk to 45-31 by the end of the third quarter.

The ‘Cats slowed things down and put together several long possessions to help kill the clock and both teams scored just nine points in the final period, allowing Cullman to hold on and defeat John Carroll 54-40.

Jayden Sullins led the ‘Cats in scoring with 14 points, followed by Mason Herron and JT White who posted nine and eight points respectively. Ten different Bearcats found the scoring column in the win.

Cullman will look to avenge its only loss of the season this Friday when the Bearcats host Huntsville.

Cullman County Middle School Tournament Day One Results: Girls' Bracket

(1) Good Hope 43 – (8) Vinemont 11

(4) Cold Springs 35 – (5) Holly Pond 21

(3) Parkside 42 – (6) Hanceville 11

(2) West Point 28 – (7) Fairview 11

Other Tuesday night scores:

Hanceville 64 – JB Pennington 52 (varsity boys)

Hanceville 63 – JB Pennington 47 (varsity girls)

Good Hope 66 – West Point 58 (varsity boys)

West Point 62 – Good Hope 36 (varsity girls)

Cold Springs 58 – Fairview 47 (varsity boys)

Cold Springs 67 – Fairview 45 (varsity girls)

Holly Pond 70 – Vinemont 38 (varsity boys)

Holly Pond 55 – Vinemont 27 (varsity girls)

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