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December 27, 2012

YULE TIDE CLASSIC: Cullman advances to winners’ bracket with close win over Ravenwood

Lady Bearcats fall to Northridge

HANCEVILLE —  It wasn’t quite the start Bobby Meyer was looking for, but when all was said and done, his Bearcat basketball team eked out a 53-49 win over Ravenwood High School in the first round of the Yule Tide Classic at Tom Drake Coliseum on Thursday night.

“That game was hard to describe,” Meyer said. “It was a grind to score and defend early in the game. It was definitely a hard one to earn.”

Both teams were sluggish out of the gate, especially the Bearcats, who committed an high amount of turnovers in the first half, trailing 21-17 going into the intermission.

Cullman (9-6) was able to get on a roll midway through the third quarter, however, taking just its second lead of the game on an Auston Neal layup assisted by a Lawson Schaffer behind-the-back pass with just over three minutes left to go.

In the fourth quarter, it was Schaffer who put the team on his back, scoring 10 of his 16 total points in the frame, including a  6-7 mark from the free-throw line to keep the Raptors at bay toward the end of the game.

The Raptors had a chance late, but the Bearcats’ Houston Turner hit two clutch free throw with 5.1 seconds left to advance Cullman to the winners’ bracket.

“We made some free throws tonight, we’ve been better at that lately,” Meyer added. “It’s part of the winning formula.”

Lane Donaldson added 10 for 11 for the Bearcats, while teammates Turner and Keaton Dean scored nine and seven points each, respectively.

Cullman will face Dallas County tonight at 8 p.m.

The Hornets narrowly escaped with a 34-32 over Newton, Ga. earlier in the evening.

“It was a good win against a very good, well-coached team,” Meyer said. “Dallas County is another good one as well.”

Tanner and Athens joined the Bearcats and Hornets in the winners’ circle on Thursday with big wins.

Tanner destroyed Gardendale by a final score of 64-32, while Athens had no trouble easing by Walker, 85-42.

Those two teams will meet in the other semifinal matchup today at 5 p.m.

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