Senior years are meant for making memories.
On Monday night, Cullman’s Morgan Smith made one heck of a memory, smoothly sinking a game-tying 3-pointer with less than a minute remaining and then swishing a game-winning trey with just 4.2 seconds left on the clock to clinch a courageous 50-49 comeback at home versus Arab.
After leading for much of the first quarter, the Bearcats allowed the Knights to claw back in the second, pull ahead in the third and take a 41-33 advantage into the early moments of the final frame.
From there on out, it was all Cullman, all the time, with Baylee Johnson sinking 3’s from both corners and knocking down a pair of field goals to set the stage for Smith.
Down 47-44, the senior received a pass behind the arc from Johnson, who had tried to set up a shot for herself, and launched it up, tickling the twine to tie the ballgame with 36.5 seconds left.
“I was really expecting Baylee to keep it in her hands because we were both hitting,” Smith said. “When she gave it to me, I thought I had to step up and make something happen. But I tried and it went in, thank goodness.”
Skylar Holmes connected on an inside attempt on Arab’s ensuing possession, leaving the Bearcats behind yet again.
But not for long.
Cullman ran the play coach Jonathan Hayes dialed up to perfection, resulting in Smith nailing the game-clinching 3 from straightaway. She immediately jumped in the air, let loose a smile and ran to celebrate with her teammates.
“It was really exciting because you don’t get this big shots all the time,” Smith said. “I was just focused on helping my team anyway I could.”
Smith finished with a game-high 23 points, barely edging out Johnson’s 20-point total. The duo combined for seven 3-pointers and accounted for all of the Bearcats’ points in the second half.
“That’s just exciting basketball,” Hayes said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way they fought through adversity.”
Shelby Beam got off to quite a hot start of her own, scoring 11 of her 16 points in the second quarter to bring the Knights back in the ballgame. Cullman caught on in the second half, however, limiting Beam to just two points in the third quarter and three in the fourth.
“Shelby Beam is just a tremendous player,” Hayes said. “I thought we did our job with her in the third and fourth quarters.”
Blair Nall pitched in four points for the Bearcats, who improved to 12-8 with the thriller. Hayden Short had three points.
Cullman won’t have much time to celebrate the victory, hosting Mortimer Jordan tonight.
Senior years are meant for making memories.
- Top Sports
NFL: Man facing charges for urinating on Modell's grave
Maryland authorities said Tuesday they will charge a man with disorderly conduct in a cemetery for allegedly urinating on the grave of former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell.
PREP SOFTBALL: Local contingent helps Crush secure USSSA World Series title in Orlando
The list of prep softball talent in Cullman County over the last few years has been quite extensive.
LOCAL GOLF ROUNDUP: Harris duo claims parent-child scramble
Ches and John Harris had no trouble closing out a one-stroke lead during Day 2 of the parent-child scramble at Cullman Golf Course on Sunday afternoon.
NFL: Yet another make or break season for QB Bradford
It's become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford.
SWIMMING: Trio of swimmers grab gold as Catfish earn third-place finish at state meet
Cooper Ogstad, Luke Johnson and Jaedyn Martin each turned in gold-medal performances during Saturday’s state swim meet to help the Cullman Catfish notch an excellent third-place finish at the Alabama Recreation and Parks Swimming Championship.
LOCAL ROUNDUP: Pressley shoots 65, takes 3-shot lead at Chesley Oaks Open
Scoring conditions couldn’t have been any better for the droves of players taking part in this year’s Chesley Oaks Open on Saturday afternoon.
NFL: Milliner ready to prove himself as Jets' No. 1 CB
The pressure was on Dee Milliner in a big way last season.
He was a first-round pick, the first cornerback drafted and projected to start right away for the New York Jets with lofty expectations from the team, fans and the media.
PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Warren 'beyond excited' to return home, begin coaching at alma mater Hanceville
As it turns out, LeBron James is not the only basketball mind returning home this summer.
SWIMMING: Catfish in 3rd place after Day 1 of state meet
The Cullman Swim Team performed admirably during Day 1 of the state meet on Friday, coming away in third place entering Saturday’s final day of activities.
FOOTBALL: Dallas Cowboys LB McClain convicted in Alabama
A judge on Friday convicted Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in his Alabama hometown and imposed an 18-day jail term that could interrupt the player's bid to restart his career.
- More Top Sports Headlines
- NFL: Man facing charges for urinating on Modell's grave