PREP BASKETBALL: Cullman bounces back with area wins over Decatur

Cullman’s Tucker Apel (4) posted 13 points in the Bearcats’ 72-46 win over Decatur Tuesday night. (Sammy Confer/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Bearcats and Lady Bearcats returned home Tuesday night after their trip to Hartselle over the weekend and bounced back with a pair of area wins over Decatur. The Lady Bearcats topped Decatur 58-31 to move to 16-6 on the year and the Bearcats blew past the Red Raiders 72-46 to improve to 16-2.

Cullman 58 – Decatur 31 (varsity girls)

Ally Sharpe quickly got the scoring started for Cullman with a three from the left corner. Decatur scored six of the next eight points to take a 6-5 lead early in the first quarter, but the Lady Bearcats answered with a run of their own as a pair of free throws by Regan Quattlebaum and back-to-back layups by Jaden Winfrey and Stella Smith gave them an 11-6 lead with less than three minutes to go in the opening period. Winfrey later drilled a three and Sharpe added a shot down low as Cullman would go into the second period with a 16-7 lead.

The Lady Bearcats added to their lead in the second quarter. Sharpe hit a long-range shot and Ella Collum scored five straight points to push Cullman’s lead to 24-7. McSwain added a shot down low and later drilled a trey as Cullman’s defense held the Lady Red Raiders to one point in the second period and they went into the locker room with a commanding 29-8 lead.

The third quarter was more of the same for Cullman as they continued to pad their lead in the second half. A rebound and put-back by Collum gave the Lady Bearcats a 31-8 lead and later on, Winfrey scored six straight points and McSwain added a long-range shot to make it 40-10. McSwain added a couple of more baskets down low to make it a 45-13 score. Winfrey hit a layup to end the third quarter scoring for Cullman as they would take a 47-20 lead into the final period.

McSwain hit another layup, Collum hit a pair of shots sandwiched around a pair of Winfrey free throws as that pushed Cullman’s lead to 55-21 and the Lady Bearcats would go to take the game, 58-21.

Winfrey led the way for Cullman (16-6, 1-2) with 15 points. McSwain added 14 points. Collum ended up with 11 points, while Sharpe added eight points.

Cullman 72 – Decatur 46 (varsity boys)

Garrison Sharpe hit a layup just a few seconds into the game to put Cullman on the scoreboard first. Tucker Apel drilled a three from the top of the key and Tucker Cagle added a shot down low to give the Bearcats a 7-2 early in the first period. But six straight points by Decatur gave them an 8-7 lead and later hit a pair of shots to make it 12-8. Sharpe hit a long-range shot to make it a one-point game, but the Red Raiders pushed their lead to 17-11 and the Bearcats would trail by six going into the second period.

Sharpe started out the second quarter red-hot as he scored Cullman’s first seven points to give them an 18-17 lead with a little over five minutes to go in the first half. Kase Nixon then hit a shot down low to make it a 20-17 game. Decatur made it a one-point game with a layup, but Tucker Gambrill hit a layup and an Apel three-point play pushed Cullman’s lead to 25-19 with less than two minutes to go in the first half. Sharpe continued his red-hot shooting with a driving layup and Max Gambrill hit a three to help give the Bearcats a 31-21 lead at the half.

Cullman started the third quarter on a mission as baskets down low by Nathan Zills and Tucker Gambrill made it a 35-21 lead. Apel drilled a three and Cagle added a layup to push the lead to 40-21. A three-point play by Decatur made it a 40-24 game, but the Bearcats were just getting started. Cagle added another basket down low, Jamar Kay converted on the old-fashioned three-point play, and Nixon drilled a three to make it a 49-24 score. Cagle then scored five straight points, including a three-point play, and Tucker Gambrill had a three-point play of his own. When it was all said and done, the Bearcats had a commanding 61-31 lead going into the final period.

Apel added yet another three to make it a 64-34 game. The Red Raiders scored seven straight points to make it a 64-41 game, but a pair of free throws from Sharpe and Colton Echols quickly pushed Cullman’s lead back to 68-41. Garrett Hall and Max Gambrill would each added the final two baskets of the game for the Bearcats as they would go on to roll past Decatur, 72-46.

Sharpe led the way for Cullman (16-2, 2-1) with 18 points. Apel added 13 points. Cagle ended up with 11 points. Tucker Gambrill added nine points. Max Gambrill ended up with six points, while Nixon chipped in with five points.

Cullman will travel to Muscle Shoals Friday for another area matchup.

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