Whether it’s been at home or on the road, coach Bobby Meyer’s squad has struggled against East Limestone during the 2012-2013 campaign.

Two games and two losses due to matchup problems.

With the Class 5A, Area 15 championship on the line, the Bearcats were hoping they had found the right solution to buck that trend on Monday night. However, the Indians weren't having it, as they pulled away late for the 60-53 win.

"They essentially have all guards playing all positions, so when I've got guys on (Jordon) Gandy and (Blake) Tucker, they're on the perimeter and can do some things out there," Meyer said. "That creates total matchup problems for us because we're a traditional big-big three guards, and they're not as far as their line up. That was the whole game — the matchup. It was a nightmare, and it's been that way for three games."

Cullman trailed much of the game until late in the fourth when sophomore Lawson Schaffer drove the lane for a layup, picking up a foul in the process. Connecting on the three-point play was enough to pull the Bearcats within two. On their next possession, Schaffer's shot once again found nothing but net, tying the game at 46-46.

But the momentum quickly shifted back to East Limestone's favor behind the trio of Gandy, Tucker, and Nick Walsh. Tucker put the Indians back ahead, sinking 1 of 2 shots from the charity stripe and sparking an 8-0 run the Bearcats weren't able to recover from.

"We never did get a true hold of the game," Meyer said. "Even when we battled and tied it up, it was still one of those short lived things where we couldn't get the stops."

Schaffer led Cullman with 23 points, while Houston Turner followed with 11.

Gandy had a 30-point night for East Limestone.

With the loss, the Bearcats will travel to Athens Friday night to battle it out for a spot in next week's Northwest Regional Tournament. Gametime is set for 7 p.m.

"We see the matchup there, and hopefully we'll have a better match up as far as personnel, and we'll work at that," Meyer said. "We're a team that plays well on the road, so going on the road doesn't bother us. We'll try and get ready and go play. The ultimate goal is to get to Wallace and win two there. That's what we've talked about all year."

% Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131,ext. 225, or by email at agraves@cullmantimes.com

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