PREP BASKETBALL: Lady Bearcats topple Hartselle 46-37 to capture 6A, Area 14 tournament crown; area tournament scoring recap

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Cullman’s Jaden Winfrey (4) led the Lady Bearcats with 22 points in their 46-37 win over Hartselle in Thursday night’s 6A, Area 14 tournament title game. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – For the third time this season, the Cullman Lady Bearcats are winners over the Hartselle Lady Tigers and their most recent victory earned them another home game in the postseason. Hartselle traveled to Cullman High School for the 6A, Area 14 tournament championship game Thursday night and the Lady Bearcats sent them home with a 46-37 loss, winning this year’s area tournament title in the process.

Jaden Winfrey laid one in to give Cullman an early 2-0 lead and she had a lot more in store for the home crowd. Winfrey knocked down a three and collected another basket to stretch the lead to 7-3 midway through the opening quarter, but the Lady Tigers were able to put together a 5-0 run to end the period and take a 1-point lead into the second.

Hartselle pulled ahead 10-7 early in the second quarter but Hannah Hoffman scored to cut the lead to one around the five-minute mark of the period. Kinslee Borden put one in to make it a 12-11 game midway through the second and after another run by the Lady Tigers, AK Eastman buried a three to trim the lead to 17-14 with less than three minutes to play in the half. Ava McSwain laid one in to cut the lead to one late in the quarter and she followed that with a three-pointer from the top of the key that tied the game at 19 with a minute to play in the half. Unfortunately for Cullman, Hartselle was able to score five points in the final 24 seconds of the second and went into the locker room with a 24-19 lead at halftime.

A pair of Winfrey free throws trimmed the lead to three at the start of the third quarter and she collected another basket to cut the lead to one. Reagan Quattlebaum knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Lady Bearcats a 25-24 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the third and two more free throws from Winfrey stretched the lead to three. The Lady Tigers were able to move back in front by one midway through the period but a steal and layup by Winfrey gave Cullman a 31-30 lead. Eastman scored again to put the Lady Bearcats in front 34-30 with less than a minute to play in the quarter and Winfrey added one more from the line just before the buzzer to make it a 35-31 game going into the final frame.

Eastman drilled a three-pointer to extend the lead to seven early in the fourth quarter and Alexandria Barker scored inside to make it 40-33 with just under five minutes to play. Winfrey buried another three to stretch the lead to 10 midway through the period and Cullman began to take the air out of the ball after that, draining as much time as possible on each possession. Eventually, Eastman netted a pair of free throws to put the Lady Bearcats up by 11 with less than a minute to play and Cullman held on to defeat Hartselle 46-37 and win this year’s 6A, Area 14 tournament title.

Winfrey led the Lady Bearcats with 22 points in the win, followed by Eastman with 11 and McSwain with five. Quattlebaum, Borden, Hoffman and Barker each added two in the win.

Cullman will return home to play Athens Monday night in the sub-regional round.

Other Thursday area tournament scores: Other final scores will be added as they are reported. Game times for sub-regional round to be determined.

West Point 72 – Hamilton 43 (varsity girls) 5A, Area 14

The Lady Warriors knocked off Hamilton in the 5A, Area 14 tournament finals Thursday night and will return home Monday night to take on East Limestone in the sub-regional round.

Susan Moore 93 – Hanceville 57 (varsity girls) 3A, Area 12

The Lady Bulldogs fell to Susan Moore in the 3A, Area 12 tournament title game and will travel to Midfield for a sub-regional matchup Monday night.

Addison 48 – Red Bay 37 (varsity girls) 2A, Area 12

The Lady Bulldogs toppled Red Bay in the 2A, Area 12 tournament finals Thursday night and will return home Monday night to host Ider in the sub-regional round.

Oneonta 60 – Fairview 47 (varsity girls) 4A, Area 12

The Lady Aggies fell to Oneonta in the 4A, Area 12 tournament title game Thursday night and will travel to North Jackson Monday night.

Cold Springs 81 – West End 18 (varsity girls) 2A, Area 12

The Lady Eagles hammered West End in the 2A, Area 12 tournament finals Thursday night and will return home to host either Altamont or Sumiton Christian in the sub-regional round Monday night.

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