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November 15, 2012

PREP BASKETBALL: Bearcats split with Brewer in season openers

SOMERVILLE — The Cullman boys’ basketball team built up a big first half lead and rode stellar guard play late to hold on for a season-opening 59-53 win over Brewer on Thursday night.

The Bearcats’ lead hovered around 10 points for most of the second half until the Patriots cut the deficit to five with under a minute left.

However, Cullman made its free throws down the stretch and held on for a six-point victory.

The Bearcats dominated the first-half scoring, particularly in the second quarter, outscoring Brewer 23-16 en route to a 33-21 halftime lead.

“We played a good first half,” coach Bobby Meyer said. “Got a little sloppy in the second half though and could never really stretch out our lead late in the game.”

Brewer was able to close that gap in the second half in large part due to the efforts center Cody Benitez, whose 20 points led the way for the Patriots.

However, it wasn’t enough as Cullman’s Lawson Schaffer and Seth Swalve accounted for 17 of the Bearcats’ 26 second-half points.

“Our young guys really played well tonight,” Meyer said. “They made a few mistakes, but they played pretty well.”

Schaffer, a sophomore, had a team-high 15 points, 14 of which came in the second half, while freshman Seth Swalve had 12 points in his first varsity contest.

Other Cullman contributors included Auston Neal, who scored nine points and Austin Beck, who added eight.

The Bearcat victory came without the aide of their two big men, Troy Forrest and Houston Turner, both of whom are still suiting up at wide receiver for the school’s football team.

“Our identity tonight isn’t what it’ll be later in the season,” Meyer said. “When we get our football guys back, we will be little bit more of a different team.”

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