PREP BASKETBALL: Cullman rallies to top Oxford 58-50, Lady Jackets pull away from Lady Bearcats 72-65

Cullman’s Sam Duskin drives to the basket for a score during the Bearcats’ 58-50 win over Oxford Tuesday night. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. — After traveling to Hartselle for a pair of area games Friday, the Bearcats and Lady Bearcats were back home Tuesday night to battle Oxford. In the girls’ game, the Yellow Jackets pulled away in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to defeat Cullman 72-65 but in the boys’ game, the Bearcats rallied from a 10-point deficit at halftime to collect a 58-50 win over Oxford.

Oxford 72 – Cullman 65 (varsity girls)

Juliana Brannon scored the game’s first basket to give the Lady Bearcats an early, 2-0 lead but Oxford responded with a 7-0 run to pull ahead 7-2. Kadence Hanback knocked down a three to make it a 7-5 game midway through the first quarter but the Lady Jackets surged ahead to a 12-5 lead. Ally Sharpe split a pair of free throws and drilled a three-pointer to trim the lead to 12-9 with two minutes remaining in the period and after Oxford stretched its lead to five, Annalee Allen drained a three in the final minute of the first to cut the lead to 14-12 going into the second.

Hanback buried another three to give the Lady Bearcats a 15-14 lead at the start of the third quarter. Molly Dorough added a free throw and Sharpe laid one in to keep the game tied at 18 later in the period but a 7-0 run from the Jackets made it a 25-18 game. Allen drilled another three to trim the lead to four and following another Oxford basket, Cullman finished the half with a 6-0 run, capped by a jumper from Dorough, to tie the game at 27 going into the locker room at the break.

Rachel Hoffman finished a three-point play at the line to give the ‘Cats a 30-28 lead early in the third. Hanback’s third three-pointer of the game kept Cullman in front 33-30 and Sharpe turned a steal into an easy bucket to make it 35-30. Hanback buried another three and Brannon score inside to make it a 40-37 game midway through the period and Oxford pulled ahead with a pair of baskets on the other end, Sharpe laid one in to give Cullman a 42-41 lead with just over a minute to play in the quarter. Another three from Hanback tied the game at 45 later in the third but the Jackets scored just before the buzzer to take a 47-45 advantage into the final frame.

Sharpe hit a pair of free throws to trim the Oxford lead to 49-47 early in the fourth but the Jackets were able to extend their lead to 55-47. A three from Sharpe and a jumper by Hanback cut the lead to 55-52 with five minutes remaining and Taylor Au laid one in to make it a 1-point game. Hoffman scored inside to give Cullman a 56-55 lead and Sharpe drained her next four free throw attempts to keep the score knotted at 60 with just over two minutes left to play. A Kentley White basket out the ‘Cats back in front 62-60 but unfortunately for the home crowd, a 10-0 run by the Jackets made it a 70-62 game with less to a minute remaining. Sharpe knocked down one more three from the top of the key but those were the last points Cullman was able to put on the board and Oxford held on to win it 72-65.

Sharpe led the Lady Bearcats with 25 points in the loss. Hanback posted 18 and Allen finished with six.

Cullman 58 – Oxford 50 (varsity boys)

A basket from Sam Duskin and a Colton Echols three-pointer kept the game tied at 5 early in the first quarter and after Oxford pulled ahead 10-5, Gray Hopper drained a three to trim the lead to 10-8. Another Echols basket cut the lead to 16-10 with just over a minute remaining in the period and the Bearcats went into the second quarter trailing by six.

Duskin laid another one in to make it an 18-12 game early in the second and San Dorough drilled a three to hold the Jackets lead to 21-15 later in the period. Jake Dorough followed with a three of his own to trim the lead to 24-18 with three minutes to play in the opening half and after Jake split a pair of free throws, Duskin knocked down two more from the foul line to make it a 31-21 game going into the locker room at the break.

Echols drained a three and Duskin turned a steal into an easy bucket to cut the lead to 31-26 at the start of the third. That’s when Jake Dorough buried back to back three-pointers to bring the lead down to 36-32 and Preston Gay followed those up with a three of his own to make it a 38-35 game. Baskets by Jake Dorough and Preston Gay cut Oxford’s lead down to one and after Duskin sank a pair of free throws, Brodie Banister scored off a turnover to give Cullman its first lead since the first quarter at 43-42. Oxford was able to add one more basket before the end of the third and went into the final period leading the Bearcats 44-43.

After splitting a pair of free throws, Banister drilled a three to give Cullman a 47-46 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Jake Dorough scored the next five points for the ‘Cats to give them a 52-47 lead with two minutes remaining but Oxford managed to cut the lead to 52-50 with less than a minute to play. However, Jake Dorough sank a pair of free throws with 21 seconds on the clock to make it a 4-point game and Banister and Duskin each knocked down a pair from the line in the final seven seconds to secure a 58-50 win for Cullman.

Jake Dorough led the Bearcats with 19 points in the win, followed by Duskin with 12 and Banister and Echols with eight.

Cullman will be back home at Bearcat Arena Friday night to host an area matchup against Decatur.

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