EAST LIMESTONE —
Cullman’s streak is over. So are its chances to host the Class 5A, Area 15 Tournament.
East Limestone welcomed the Bearcats to town on Saturday and sent them home unhappy by beating the Black and Gold 63-47. The outcome not only ended Cullman’s 11-game run but served as the final piece of the puzzle for the Indians to secure the regular-season area title.
East Limestone grabbed the lead from the outset and never quite allowed the Bearcats to even the score. Cullman kept the deficit in single digits most of the night before the Indians pulled away in the closing minutes.
Sophomore sensation sophomore Lawson Schaffer surpassed the 20-point mark for the third straight game.
Cullman (17-7) wrapped up the area’s second seed, regardless of who wins the final area matchup of the regular season between West Point and Hartselle. The Warriors would have the same 3-3 area record as the Bearcats if they win, but the Black and Gold would claim the first tiebreaker by sweeping West Point.
Cullman will host bitter-rival Walker next Tuesday.
% East Limestone 58, Cullman 56: Baylee Johnson capped off a 26-point night by draining a last-second shot, but those final three points still weren’t enough to push the Bearcats past the host Indians.
Hayden Short came up huge for Cullman in the fourth quarter. She scored all seven of her points in the eight-minute stretch and even tied the score with 1:30 remaining on a three-point play.
Senior Morgan Smith contributed 12 points.
Like the boys, East Limestone clinched the regular-season area crown with the victory.
That leaves the Bearcats (12-9) and Hartselle — both finished 3-3 in area play — to settle the No. 2 and 3 seeds with a coin flip. Either way, the two rivals will face off in the first round of the area tournament.
% The Times’ sports editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.