Cullman’s varsity boys had to scratch and claw for every inch Monday night.
In the end, though, the Bearcats found another gear down the stretch and got the job done.
Jake Dorough netted a team-high 16 points, Tucker Cagle collected 14, and Cullman dominated the final five minutes against Chilton County to pick up a 55-44 home victory and improve to 11-1.
The Black and Gold led throughout the clash but found themselves holding a slim 42-40 advantage midway through the fourth quarter following a surge by the Tigers.
Cagle, however, swished a corner trey to bump the lead back to five with 5:07 left, and the Bearcats used that momentum-stealing bucket to close the contest on a 13-4 run.
“Big-time players making big-time plays,” Cullman coach Stu Stuedeman said. “These guys thought they might lose and finished the game playing desperate. When we play desperate, we’re really dang good. When we play kind of entitled, nicey-nice basketball, we’re not very good. Kudos to them. We got up on them pretty good, and they didn’t stop coming at us. They did a heck of a job never quitting, but I am glad my guys found enough in them to get it done. We’ve got to be a lot better than that, though.
“Everyone knows what to expect when they come in here now. People know we’re a good basketball team. Heck, people know we’re a great basketball team. I’ve been trying to tell our guys that people aren’t going to go away. You have to keep coming at them.”
Sam Duskin scored six of his nine points in the final period, while Colton Echols (four), Arden Crane (three), Landon Tweedie (three), Brodie Banister (two), Nate Zills (two) and Kase Nixon (two) rounded out the offensive contributions.
Cullman will host Haleyville on Friday night.
Cullman 66, Chilton County 56
Ava McSwain delivered a game-high 31 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, and the Lady Bearcats knocked off Chilton County to improve to 8-6.
Cullman held a 49-44 advantage early in the fourth quarter before McSwain scored 11 of her team’s next 13 points — Carly Mills had the other two — to spearhead a 13-5 surge that allowed the Black and Gold to create some breathing room en route to the home victory.
“I thought we rebounded well and transitioned well off that,” Cullman coach Jonathan Hayes said. “We just struggled a little finishing in transition as well as in our sets, missing a few bunnies. But I give credit to Chilton County’s inside presence. She really did a good job of protecting the goal. I’m super proud of our girls for withstanding their run. I thought they did a great job continuing to pressure the rim and answered when we needed to with some and-ones.”
Ally Sharpe joined McSwain in double figures with 13 points, while Rachel Hoffman (eight), Ella Collum (seven), Mills (four) and Morgan Grimmett (three) also provided offense.
See more local roundup from Monday below.
Cold Springs 61, Meek 23
Ella Dickerson: 20 points
Ella Bruer: 11 points
Ciara Calvert: 9 points
Maci Brown: 8 points
New Hope 52, Fairview 33
Jayla Gorham: 12 points
Ava Thomas: 7 points
Asbury 45, Hanceville 44
Meek 57, Cold Springs 29
New Hope 69, Fairview 65
Kobe Payne: 19 points
Bryson Fletcher: 14 points
Colt Fletcher: 11 points
Cylas Yarbrough: 8 points
Hanceville 68, Asbury 38
Brayden Harris: 20 points
Will Calvert: 9 points
Noah Jones: 7 points
Carson Garrett: 7 points
Braxton Broad: 7 points