PREP BASKETBALL: Bearcats, Lady Bearcats top Madison Academy in home opener

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Cullman’s Jaden Winfrey (4) led the Lady Bearcats with 19 points in their win over Madison Academy Tuesday night. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Both Cullman varsity squads hosted their first home games of the season against Madison Academy Tuesday night and both of them collected convincing wins. The Lady Bearcats got things started with a 73-51 victory and the Bearcats followed them with a 57-25 win to remain unbeaten.

Cullman 73 – Madison Academy 51 (Varsity Girls)

Jaden Winfrey scored the first two baskets of the game for the Lady Bearcats to put them up 4-3 early and Ella Collum banked one in off the glass to make it a 6-3 game with five minutes to play in the first. Cullman continued to add to its lead and after two more buckets by Winfrey and a layup from Ally Sharpe, the ‘Cats led the Lady Mustangs 12-7 at the end of the opening period.

Collum scored the first five points of the second quarter to stretch the lead to 17-7 Ava McSwain scored her first points of the night to make it 19-9. A three-pointer by Annalee Allen made it a 24-12 game midway through the second and a couple more baskets from Winfrey made it 29-14 with less than two minutes remaining in the half. Sharpe was fouled on a three-point attempt with less than a minute on the clock and drained all three shots from the line to extend the lead to 32-17 but Madison Academy knocked down a shot at the buzzer to make it a 32-21 game going into the break.

After a quick basket by McSwain to start the third quarter, Sharpe scored eight straight points to put Cullman in front 42-21 early in the third quarter. Maci Brown drilled a three to add to the lead and back to back layups by Carly Mills gave the Lady Bearcats a 52-32 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Another bucket for Brown followed by back to back scores by McSwain made it a 59-39 game early in the final period. Both she and Winfrey continued to add to their point totals as Cullman pulled away and after a final basket from Alli Grace Hembree, the Lady Bearcats went on to defeat Madison Academy 73-51 and earn their first win on their home floor.

Winfrey led the way with 19 points in the win, followed by Sharpe with 18 and McSwain with 15. Cullman will be back home Friday night at 6 to take on Winfield.

Cullman 57 – Madison Academy 25 (Varsity Boys)

Tucker Apel got the game started with a layup and a three-pointer to give the ‘Cats an early, 5-0 lead over the Mustangs and back to back buckets from Tucker Cagle stretched the lead to 9-0 midway through the first. Garrison Sharpe drained a three to make it a 12-0 game and after a free throw by Colton Echols, Cagle laid another one in with less than a minute to play in the opening period to give Cullman a 15-1 lead going into the second.

Tucker Gambrill turned a steal into an easy layup, making it a 17-1 game but Madison Academy began to get things going on the offensive end and cut into the lead. Sharpe drilled another three-pointer to extend the lead back out to 23-9 midway through the second quarter and back to back scores from Kase Nixon made it 27-9. Sharpe stayed hot and scored the final two baskets of the half to give the Bearcats a 31-9 advantage going into the break. Sharpe outscored the Mustangs 10-9 in the first half.

Nate Zills scored inside to make it a 33-11 game early in the third quarter but two more buckets by Cagle stretched the lead to 37-11. Sharpe and Gambrill each put two points on the board put Cullman in front 39-13 midway through the third and after another layup by Sharpe in the final two minutes of the period, the ‘Cats went into the fourth quarter leading 44-20.

Cagle and Gambrill each scored to start the fourth and extend the lead to 48-23 but Sharpe wasn’t done. The sophomore knocked down two more three-pointers to make it a 54-23 game and officially put things out of reach. Arden Crane drilled a three just before the final buzzer and the Bearcats collected a 57-25 win over Madison Academy to improve to 6-0 on the season.

Sharpe led Cullman with 20 points in the win. Cagle posted 15, Gambrill finished with six and Apel added five. The Bearcats will be back home Friday night to host Winfield at 7:30 p.m.

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