PREP BASKETBALL: Lady Bearcats drop sub-regional matchup against Athens

Cullman’s Reagan Quattlebaum (11) drives past a defender during the Lady Bearcats’ 60-29 loss to Athens Monday night. (Martha Needham for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – After winning its last meeting with Athens, Cullman looked for another huge win against the Lady Golden Eagles, but this time, their season was on the line. After trailing at the halftime break, the Lady Bearcats couldn’t muster much of anything offensively in the second half and Athens was able to pull away to take the game 60-29.

Five straight points by Regan Quattlebaum gave Cullman an early 5-4 lead, but five in a row from Athens gave them a 9-5 lead. A pair of baskets by Kinslee Borden tied the game at nine with less than four minutes to play in the first quarter, but the Lady Golden Eagles ended the quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 16-9 lead after one.

Athens stretched its lead to 20-10 early in the second period, but Jaden Winfrey and A.K. Eastman scored Cullman’s next six points to cut the deficit to four late in the quarter. After the Lady Golden Eagles pushed their lead to 11 with a 7-0 run, Eastman hit a pair from the line to make it a 27-18 game at the half.

An 8-0 Athens run made it 35-18 early in the third period. Hannah Hoffman hit a pair from the charity stripe with just five minutes to go in the period to cut it to 15 and Eastman drilled a three for Cullman’s only basket of the quarter to trim the lead to 42-23 after three.

Athens’ inside game gave Cullman all kinds of problems and it continued in the final quarter as the Lady Golden Eagles pushed their lead to 23 early in the final period. Borden hit a pair from the line to make it a 21-point contest, but the Lady Bearcats didn’t get any closer after that as Athens proved to be too much for them and Cullman ended up falling 60-29 to finish the season at 22-9.

Quattlebaum finished the game with eight points for Cullman, followed by Eastman with seven, Borden with six, Winfrey with four and Hoffman and Ava McSwain each added two. The Lady Bearcats will lose three key players to graduation in May, Eastman, Alexandria Barker and Borden, so there will be some big shoes to fill next season when they begin the chase for another postseason run.

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