HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Varsity boys action in this year’s Cullman County Basketball Tournament officially tipped Wednesday night and things got started with the Hanceville Bulldogs and the Vinemont Eagles. After a very tight three quarters, the Bulldogs began to pull away in the fourth but had to fend off a late rally from the Eagles to escape with a 63-62 win.
Ryan Stewart knocked down a long jumper to give the Eagles an early, 2-0 lead and Curtis Kennedy added a three-pointer from the right corner to make it 5-0. A Colby Miller three stretched the lead to 8-0 midway through the first but Izayah Glenon laid one in to get the Bulldogs on the board. Tristin Herrera and Stewart traded three-pointers to make it an 11-5 and Zach Campbell hit a three of his own to cut the Vinemont lead to three. Glenon scored inside to trim the lead to 11-10 with two minutes to play in the first and Noah Jones drilled back to back threes to give Hanceville a 16-13 lead. Will Rhodes split a pair of free throws in the final moments of the period cut make it a 16-14 game going into the second.
A pair of Colin Techmiller baskets tied the game at 18 at the start of the second quarter but scores from Glenon and Campbell gave the Bulldogs a 4-point lead. Stewart laid one in to cut the lead to 22-20 and Techmiller netted a pair of free throws to tie things up with five minutes to play in the opening half. Stewart buried a three from the left corner to give the Eagles a 25-22 advantage but Braxton Broad tied things up with a trey of his own on the other end. Stewart hit another three to give Vinemont a 28-25 lead with three minutes remaining in the period, but Campbell answered with a pair of free throws to make it a 1-point game. Rhodes extended the Eagles’ lead to 31-27 with a corner three but free throws from Campbell and Glenon cut the lead to 31-29 at the halftime break.
Herrera knocked down a three at the start of the third quarter to put the Bulldogs ahead 32-31 and Campbell added three more free throws to make it 35-31. Kix Johnson knocked down a three-pointer to cut the lead to one and Teichmiller split a pair of free throws to tie the score at 35. Campbell nailed a three from the left wing to give Hanceville a 38-35 lead with three minutes to play in the third but Teichmiller responded with a three-pointer of his own on the other end to tie things back up at 38. Broad hit another shot from three-point range to give the Bulldogs a 41-38 lead with less than a minute remaining in the fourth but a free throw and a layup from Rhodes in the final seconds of the period tied the game at 41 going into the final frame.
Herrera nailed another three-pointer to give Hanceville a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter and a floater by Campbell stretched the lead to 46-41. Campbell followed Herrera with another deep three and made it a 49-42 game with five minutes to play. Broad kept the streak going with a corner three that gave Hanceville a 10-point advantage. Broad then scooped up an offensive rebound and put it in to make it 54-42 with just over three minutes remaining but Johnson stopped the run with a three-pointer that cut the lead to 54-45. Carson Garrett drained a pair of free throws to add to the lead and Teichmiller and Glenon quickly traded baskets to make it a 58-47 game.
Kennedy knocked down a three to trim the lead to eight with just under two minutes to play but two more free throws from Campbell built the lead back up to 60-50. Johnson scored inside to cut the lead to eight with 50 seconds on the clock and he buried another three-pointer 10 seconds later to make it a 60-55 game. Teichmiller scored a quick basket to trim the lead to 61-57 and after Glenon split a pair of shots at the line to extend the lead to five, he laid in another one to make it 62-59 with eight seconds to play. Campbell went to the line for two free throws and hit one of them to stretch the Hanceville lead to four. That free throw proved to be the difference when Teichmiller came back down the floor and drilled a deep three from near half court to bring the final score to 63-62 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Campbell led Hanceville with 24 points in the win, followed by Broad with 11, Glenon with 10, Herrera with nine and Jones with seven. Teichmiller posted 20 points for Vinemont in the loss. Stewart added 13, Johnson finished with 11, Rhodes posted seven and Kennedy scored six.
Hanceville will advance to play the top-seeded Cold Springs Eagles in the semifinal round Friday at 6 p.m. at Tom Drake Coliseum.
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