By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
The weather outside Culllman’s gymnasium may be frightful, but the Bearcats’ 3-point shooting remains ever so delightful.
A five-day hiatus couldn’t even slow down the Black and Gold, as they made 12 treys, raced out to a fine 21-point halftime lead and held on late to grab a sublime 79-63 victory over Arab on Thursday.
Cullman moved to 18-7 on the season with the triumph.
“It was a good win against a great team,” coach Bobby Meyer said after the game. “We came out with a lot of focus and got out of the chute well. We had plenty of energy early and our D was creating a lot of turnovers.”
The Bearcats were extra crisp in the first quarter, grabbing a 24-12 advantage after eight minutes on the back of made 3’s by Lane Donaldson (two), Chase Slocumb and Lee Mattox.
They opened the second stanza on a 12-5 run to push their cushion to 38-17 — largely in part to their suffocating press attack against the Knights.
Arab was able to trim its deficit to 13 late in the third, but it could never get any closer in the Black and Gold’s wire-to-wire victory.
“We're proud of this win,” Meyer said. “I thought this would be a tough one because of the layoff. We needed to play well to get a good start on this difficult three-game stretch.”
Lawson Schaffer forged ahead of the pack with 15 points to lead the Bearcats, while Seth Swalve, Mattox and Slocumb all had 12 points to round out the double-digit scoring for the home team.
Donaldson dropped in nine points, Austin Beck poured in six, and Keaton Dean and Auston Neal were each good for five. Jason McAfee made a trey late to finish with three.
“We had good, varying scoring,” Meyer said of his squad. “But we missed a lot of shots we normally make, too. Hopefully we'll get a little sharper with that in the next two days.”
Cullman will take on Dora Friday night before traveling to 6A Gardendale on Saturday.
% Cullman 51, Arab 45: Baylee Johnson scored 19 points and Christina Skinner threw in a double-double — 16 points and 10 boards — to help the Bearcats slide past the Knights on Thursday.
Jonathan Hayes’s team fell to Arab last week thanks in large part to turnovers and offensive rebounds. The coach had a bit of a talk with his players before they took the court this time.
“We had 30 turnovers and gave up 30 offensive boards,” he said. “So I told the girls this game would be a little easier if we didn’t give them 60 extra possessions this time. We challenged them to play better and they did. I’m proud of them.”
It was a tight bout all the way through, with Cullman holding a small 39-37 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Fortunately for the Black and Gold, they opened the frame on a 9-2 run to give them some breathing room. From there, they were able to get some stops, make some free throws and hold on for the nice triumph.
“I'm proud of them for handling their D and their pressure,” Hayes said. “We weren't timid. It opened things up for us and we made some shots.
Oakleigh White had seven points to help out her teammates, while senior Hayden Short was a jill-of-all-trades — five points, five steals, five assists and seven rebounds. Madison Cobbs and Kaitlyn Brannon rounded out the scoring for Cullman (16-9).
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at email@example.com.