HOLLY POND - Cullman completed a good visit to the 61st Holly Pond Thanksgiving Tournament by coming from behind to down J.B. Pennington 57-44 Friday night at Felton Easterwood Gymnasium.
Cullman was down 14-5 to the school from Blountsville after the first period, then began to work its way back in the game, going on a 15-7 run to trail at the half, 21-20.
Coach Bobby Meyer's squad move ahead in the third period thanks to an 18-10 run for a 38-31 lead with a quarter remaining.
Cullman produced 19 points in the final frame, extending the lead to a final margin of victory at 13 points.
A sluggish five-point first period ended with 52 points scored by the Bearcats from the second stanza on to the end.
Dylan Finch and Drew Morton took care of the scoring honors Friday, hitting for 15 apiece while Zane Manley added eight, Trey Tucker and JD Parrish chipped in with six each.
Cullman came to the tournament Wednesday, running away from Good Hope 67-41. On Thanksgiving night, the Bearcats used a 20-9 run in the fourth to break open a tight encounter with Holly Pond and win 70-58.
Meyer's squad has won four of their last five assignments, going 3-1 for Thanksgiving week. Cullman is 5-3 heading to the final week of November.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton.
61st Holly Pond Thanksgiving Tournament
At Felton Easterwood Gymnasium - Thursday:
Cullman 18 11 21 20 - 70 (4-3)
Holly Pond 17 12 20 9 - 58 (2-2)
FLASH NOTES: Traditional rivals put on an entertaining game Thanksgiving night with both swapping the lead on the scoreboard numerous times before Cullman got control with a 10-2 run late in the third period, taking a 50-49 advantage after they trailed early in the third by the score of 47-40.
Bobby Meyer's Bearcats got scoring by PG Nic Williams who drove to the hoop and close range field goals by forward Dylan Finch in combing for 21 first half points to get the game even at 29-29 at intermission.
Mitch Morris' Broncos answered with guard Zach Shaw producing 10 and guard Griffin Morris netting seven through two periods of play.
Shaw took over the scoring for the Broncos in the third when Morris went to the bench with his third personal foul. Shaw landed five shots, two from three-point range and had 22 points for Holly Pond going to the final stanza.
Williams was the scoring catalyst for the Bearcats, hitting four short range FGs and a free throw, giving him 19 through three quarters. Finch was right behind with 17 points at that point.
What carried Cullman in the final period was 12 of 16 from the line and two key baskets by Finch. Williams was four of six at the stripe in the fourth, getting help from Jayden Sullins who made four of six FTs as well.
Holly Pond's offense struggled with nine points in the fourth on four field goals, no treys and one of four at the line.
The Broncos were coming off scoring 84 in a win on Wednesday against J.B. Pennington.
Cullman had put 67 on the scoreboard Wednesday in a runaway over Good Hope.
Williams popped in 23 for the Bearcats with 21 coming from Finch, 13 by Sullins, seven from Trey Tucker and two by Drew Morton and Zane Manley.
Shaw's 22 anchored Holly Pond's scoring list, followed by 12 from Morris, McKinley Garrett six, Jacob Harris five, Kyler Chaney and Tyler Boatright four and Devyn Tankersley three.
Also from Thursday:
Good Hope 69, J.B. Pennington 44
The Raiders shook off the one-sided loss to Cullman, moving ahead 36-20 at halftime after the game was even at 11-11 after the first quarter.
Good Hope extended the margin to 49-31 after the third, then threw in 20 points in the final 8:00 to win the game going away.
Drew Adams' Raiders got plenty of balanced scoring from Kallen Sharpton, Cole Maddox, Drew Maddox, Issac McDonald and Isiah Lemus in improving to 2-1 on the season.
Cullman (2-0 in tournament) vs. J.B. Pennington (0-2) 6:30 p.m.
Good Hope (1-1 in tournament) vs. Holly Pond (1-1) 7:45 p.m.
Encore Girls Classic Consolation Bracket
At Hartselle Gymnasium:
Red Bay 11 11 12 9 - 43 (0-4)
Cullman 20 21 10 18 - 69 (4-3)
FLASH NOTES: Cullman ended a two-game losing streak in playing for the fourth time in six days. The Lady 'Cats have faced Mortimer Jordan, Hillcrest in the tournament, Athens in regular season and tonight a game with Red Bay in returning to the Encore Classic.
Cullman had another good start like the last time when they posted victory last Thursday over Mortimer Jordan.
The Lady 'Cats ripped the cords for 20 through the first stanza and followed with 21 in period two, taking a 41-22 lead to the locker room.
Josh Hembree's Lady 'Cats sputtered in the third with just 10 points, but maintained a comfortable margin at 51-34.
Cullman bounced back with 18 in the final period as Hembree cleared the bench, trying to keep personnel fresh for Wednesday's schedule, which could be two games if the Lady 'Cats prevail in their first game in the consolation bracket.
Olivia Neal got her best outing of the year, scoring 16 for the Lady 'Cats with Anna Evans netting 12, A.K. Eastman 11, Alexandria Barker 10, Hannah Hoffman eight, Anna Grace Murphy six and Kennedy Wren four.
Reagan Kuykendall tossed in 15 for Red Bay with Carlie Lindley supporting her by scoring 11 points.
Up next for Cullman: Vs. Russellville/Hanceville winner Wednesday 12:40 p.m. (Auxiliary Gym).
Photo 1: Anna Evans drives to the basket for a field goal in Cullman victory.
Photo 2: Anna Grace Murphy takes it baseline against the Red Bay defense Tuesday.
Photo 3: Hannah Hoffman and Red Bay's Reagan Kuykendall on the floor after a collision in the first half of their game in Hartselle's Auxiliary Gym Tuesday.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.
Encore Rehab Girls Classic Game # 5
At Hartselle Gymnasium:
Cullman 4 22 12 16 - 54 (3-2)
Hillcrest 13 15 18 18 - 64 (2-1)
FLASH NOTES: Cullman's first eight minutes shooting the ball was a nightmare. No field goals made and a 9-point deficit.
But Josh Hembree's Lady Bearcats played with heart and soul in the second period. Scoring 22 points with Anna Grace Murphy leading the comeback, Cullman closed the deficit to 28-26 at the half.
A foul outside the three-point circle with less than a second left enabled Hillcrest to break the tie, hitting two of three free throw tries.
Cullman moved ahead at 33-32 early in the third on a three by Murphy, then Hillcrest went back on top and never trailed the rest of the way.
The team out of Tuscaloosa took a 39-38 lead and extended it to 46-38 when time expired in the stanza, closing on a 7-0 spurt.
Cullman began to experience fatigue and lost starting guard Hannah Hoffman to five fouls.
The last point Cullman scored was a free throw from Anna Evans with 1:50 left that made it 60-54 Hillcrest.
Normally, a good shooting team from the stripe, the Lady 'Cats were just three of 10 in the final period. That was enough to keep Hillcrest in a lead near double figures. The Lady Patriots made four of their final five free throws to deny the Lady 'Cats a comeback chance in crunch time.
Murphy had her best game of the young season for Cullman with 22 points, A.K. Eastman popped in 10, Kennedy Wren nine, Olivia Neal seven, Alexandria Barker four and Anna Evans three.
Guard Cierra Cunnigham had a hot hand for Hillcrest with a game high 26 points.
This was Hillcrest's first visit to the tournament.
Up next for Cullman: Monday at Athens
Tuesday in Encore Classic 6:40 p.m. (Auxiliary Gym)
Up next for Hillcrest: Quarterfinal Tuesday 6:40 p.m.
Photo 1: Cullman's Anna Grace Murphy (2) tries to slow down Hillcrest guard Alton James.
Photo 2: Hannah Hoffman of Cullman keeps Cierra Cunningham (21) in front of her.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
At Cullman Gymnasium:
Mortimer Jordan 11 17 9 14 - 51 (0-1)
Cullman 22 20 24 4 - 70 (3-1)
HALFTIME: Cullman 42-28
CULLMAN: Hannah Hoffman 15, Anna Murphy 14, A.K. Eastman 12, Anna Bowden 11, Anna Evans 10, Olivia Neal 4, Alexandria Barker 2, Alex Stansell 2.
MORTIMER JORDAN: Mackenzie Watson 14, Azia Tanks 9, Reese Calhoun 8
FLASH NOTES: Cullman put together a balanced attack and solid scoring during the first three quarters to remain undefeated in games played in the early season on campus.
The Lady Bearcats got their season high in point production and also had five to put their name as double digit scorers.
Different players had their moments Thursday night for coach Josh Hembree. Hoffman got a three-point play late in the first that helped Cullman move the lead to 18-8. Murphy got a basket to go in the second, pushing the margin to 37-22.
The last three points came from free throws by Eastman with the Lady 'Cats ahead 42-28 at the break.
Bowden stood out in the third period, scoring 11 on three treys and a steal. She finished the quarter with a trey that made it 66-37, the largest lead of the contest.
Cullman only produced four points in the final period, but had such as huge margin that it didn't really effect the outcome.
Mortimer Jordan scored 14 in the final stanza after the Lady 'Cats held them to nine in the third, dominating with 24 on the scoreboard.
In three games this week, the Lady 'Cats have scored 55, 58 and 70 and will head to Hartselle Saturday for the Encore Rehab Thanksgiving Classic.
Cullman meets Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in the first round at 3:20 p.m.
Mortimer Jordan 9 5 15 14 - 43 (0-1)
Cullman 14 19 16 12 - 61 (2-2)
HALFTIME: Cullman 33-14
CULLMAN: Zane Manley 20, Dylan Finch 10, Jake McAffee 6, Jimine Chau Le 6, Nic Williams 4, Drew Morton 4, Noah Bussman 3, Trey Tucker 3, William Kress 3, Jayden Sullins 2, Andrew Tetro 1,
MORTIMER JORDAN: Trevor Chandler 18, Nolan Dean 7
FLASH NOTES: A two-game losing streak came to an end thanks to the Bearcats putting together a 19-5 second quarter run, holding the Blue Devils to one field goal in that frame, getting the lead from 14-9 to 33-14 when it reached halftime.
Manley was a force that could not be stopped Thursday night. He responded with four field goals in the third period as the Bearcats led 49-29.
Bobby Meyer's squad was able to keep the spread to around 20 for much of the final period until the Blue Devils got some shots to fall and narrowed the final margin to 18.
Eleven Bearcats earned scoring honors with Chau Le providing a spark in the second half with a three, a field goal and a free throw.
Cullman has the weekend off, then gets back on the floor Monday with a trip to Athens, then a three-game assignment in the 61st Holly Pond Thanksgiving Tournament, beginning next Wednesday with a matchup vs. the Good Hope Raiders.
Photo 1: Cullman's A.K. Eastman moves the ball into frontcourt Thursday night.
Photo 2: Dylan Finch (23), Jake McAfee (24), Zane Manley (15) wait for free throw to be taken in 1st half.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.
At Hartselle High Gymnasium:
Cullman 5 13 17 18 - 53 (1-1)
Hartselle 18 15 11 12 - 56 (1-0)
HALFTIME: Hartselle 33-18
CULLMAN: Dylan Finch 17, Zane Manley 12, Nick Williams 6, Drew Morton 7, Noah Bussman 3, Trey Tucker 2, JD Parrish 3, Jayden Sullins 2.
HARTSELLE: Brody Peebles 26, Trace Hill 15
FLASH NOTES: Cullman spent much of Monday evening in a double figure deficit to rival Hartselle. But Bobby Meyer's squad never surrendered and took the game down to the final buzzer.
Hartselle went up 40-18 early in the third on a three by Peebles.
Poise was the scene for Cullman in finishing with a 17-4 run, cutting the gap to 44-35 with a quarter remaining.
In the fourth, Finch came to life with nine points on four field goals. A baseline jumper at 1:37 put Cullman on top 53-52, since early in the contest.
Hartselle executed a backdoor cut play to perfection and went back in front 54-53 with 1:08 remaining.
Then came an interesting moment in the game. Cullman was fouled with 22 seconds to go as Finch went to the line to shoot. He made the front end of a one and one.
However, Hartselle coach Faron Key claimed the officials had the wrong shooter at the line. It was a correctable error, but Cullman lost a point.
Manley could not drop in the free throw, Hartselle got a rebound and put the ball into tje hands of Peebles.
Peebles would go seven for seven from the line, hitting two with 0:15 left and Hartselle led 56-53.
Cullman got two good looks to try and send the game into overtime from downtown. But the second attempt from Morton, the hero in a 58-57 win last week over Decatur, bounced off the rim as time expired.
Cullman outscored Hartselle 35-23 in the second half to make a game of it. Balanced scoring was a highlight with eight Bearcats entering the scoring column. The frontline of Finch and Manley accounted for 29 points.
Peebles was the sharpshooter in hitting treys and free throws, scoring 26 in the Tigers' opener.
A large crowd was on hand with the Hartselle student body celebrating on the floor after the game.
Cullman 9 10 11 25 - 55 (1-1)
Hartselle 16 15 12 25 - 68 (1-0)
HALFTIME: Hartselle 31-19
CULLMAN: A.K. Eastman 22, Anna Grace Murphy 11, Anna Evans 8, Hannah Hoffman 8, Alexandria Barker 3.
HARTSELLE: Moriah Taylor 19, Allison Mayfield 14, Anna Mathis 11, Masnb Marchbanks 11
FLASH NOTES: Early shooting woes spelled doom for the Lady Bearcats. Cullman got two field goals in the first quarter, with both coming late in the period.
Hartselle got three pointers flying in the second as Mayfield and Marchbanks had the shooting touch from outside. Three treys in the second lifted them to a 31-19 lead at the break.
Hartselle kept the lead at double figures and went ahead 59-42 with 2:55 to play in the game on a three by Mayfield.
Josh Hembree's Lady 'Cats came out in the final moments of the contest scorching the basket. Cullman put 13 points on the board and narrowed the margin to 59-50 with 1:46 to go on free throws from Hoffman.
But the comeback bid was put away when Hartselle knocked down six free throws in the final 36 seconds to keep the margin at arms length.
Eastman stood out as the game's top scorer, producing 12 in the final period. Taylor, the Hartselle point guard, was eight of eight at the line in the fourth. Hartselle's free throw shooting in crunch time overcame early problems when the Lady Tigers showed inconsistency.
UP NEXT: Cullman vs. Guntersville Tuesday
6:00 p.m. (G)
7:30 p.m. (V)
Photo 1: Cullman's Drew Morton (13), Noah Bussman (5), Dylan Finch (23), Jake McAffee (24) try to get open to take inbounds pass from Nic Williams.
Photo 2: A.K. Eastman leads a Cullman Lady Bearcat fastbreak down court. Hannah Hoffman (22) trails the play for Cullman.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.
AHSAA Class 6A Cross Country Championships:
At Oakville Indian Mounds Park
4. Eli Wilhite 16:19
6. Jackson Tucker 16:24
13. Tucker Adkison 16:43
17. Will Thompson 16:49
42. Adam Mangum 17:45
1. Homewood 54, 2. Cullman 69, 3. Helena 107, 4. Florence 125, 5. John Carroll 199
24. Della Kelly 21:00
53. Jennifer Aviles 22:06
58. Mattie Green 22:11
73. Alexandria Holt 22:27
95. Tess Horton 22:50
1. Fort Payne 51, 2. Homewood 65, 3. John Carroll 147, 9. Cullman 250
FLASH NOTES: A good run by the Bearcats put them in a position to take the runner-up trophy behind champion Homewood.
Wilhite finished a strong second with the fourth fastest time in the meet with Tucker right on his trail, claiming sixth place.
Kelly has been the anchor for the Lady Bearcats' success all season, getting 24th with a time of 21:00.
Photo 1: Eli Wilhite and Cullman teammates cooling off following 2nd place finish.
Photo 2: Cullman runner Mattie Green after finishing the 6A cross country meet.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.
Despite not having the entire roster due to the football playoffs, the Cullman Bearcats will take to the hardwood Thursday evening for the season opener with the Decatur Red Raiders.
Bobby Meyer's Bearcats and Sam Brown's Red Raiders face each other at 7:30 p.m.
Jayden Sullins and Dylan Finch are getting ready for Friday's first round AHSAA 6A playoff with Ramsay at Carver High in Birmingham.
They will not be available until football is done.
But Meyer is ready to go with experience back in Trey Tucker, Noah Bussman, Drew Morton and others.
The second year for Josh Hembree to lead the Lady Bearcats will be at 6:00 p.m. Cullman will put on the floor a competitive lineup in Anna Evans, Kennedy Wren, Anna Bowden, A.K. Eastman and Alexandria Barker.
Cullman is ready to perform to a high level in the AHSAA 6A Cross Country Championship Saturday in Oakville.
The Bearcats won the Section 5 title last week in Scottsboro, getting a superb outing from Eli Wilhite who came home first with a time of 16:20. Teammate Jackson Tucker was right behind at 16:25 and Tucker Adkison in 6th place at 17:10.
Cullman's Lady Bearcats qualified second from the sectional to continue success they have experienced throughout the fall.
Della Kelly placed 10th in the sectionals with a time of 21:32. She has been the anchor for the team's success.
The boys meet will be at 9:30 a.m. while the 6A girls get the day started with an 8:30 a.m. run in Lawrence County.
AHSAA 6A football playoff game
Friday, November 10
Carver High School Stadium - Birmingham
CULLMAN: 7-3, #3 in 6A, R 7
RAMSAY: 6-4, #2 in 6A, R 5
SERIES: 1st meeting
LAST WEEK: Cullman defeated Chelsea 37-29
Ramsay defeated Mountain Brook 28-7
FLASH NOTES: Cullman has done what was needed in going 3-0 under interim coach Mark Stephens. Two wins in 6A, Region 7 put them in third place, then a victory at Chelsea was the finishing touch to a 7-win regular season for the first time since 2013.
The game was relocated from Lawson Field to Carver High Stadium. Carver is on the North side of the Birmingham city limits, well before motorists arrive to the Interstate 20/59 junction or Legion Field.
Cullman has won its last two games away from Woodard Stadium, which shows the Bearcats are capable of dealing with a hostile environment.
Ramsay is the defending 6A state champion, that has gone through challenging times in 2017.
Bearcats are in the playoffs for the 15th time in the last 17 years when Mark Britton came to his alma mater. Britton stepped aside due to kidney cancer in late September and the Bearcats have been playing hard in showing how they care about their coach in fighting his biggest battle.
Cullman has scored 270 points this year, putting 27 on the board per game, while they have yielded 221.
Ramsay is producing 23.8 points a contest and allowing the opponent 20.2 a game.
AHSAA Class 6A, Section 5 Cross Country Meet
At John Esslinger Trail of Champions - Scottsboro:
1 Wilhite, Eli 12 Cullman 16:20.17 1
2 Tucker, Jackson 11 Cullman 16:25.53 2
3 Nails, Taylor 11 Southside-Gadsden 16:28.03 3
4 Levario-Slaten, Carson 11 Hartselle 16:36.73 4
5 Cofield, Chance 11 Albertville 16:50.59 5
6 Adkison, Tucker 12 Cullman 17:10.44 6
7 Thompson, Will 10 Cullman 17:11.43 7
8 Dingbaum, Caleb 11 Hartselle 17:11.89 8
9 Robinson, Reed 11 Oxford High 17:27.55 9
10 Martinez, Aaron 7 Pinson Valle 17:41.95 10
11 Lowe, Jack 8 Pell City Hi 17:42.67 11
12 Anderson, Ben 10 Fort Payne 17:43.74 12
13 Garcia, Joshua 10 Albertville 17:47.84 13
14 Philips, Atticus 11 Cullman 17:50.53 14
15 Foote, Hawken 10 Hartselle 17:57.49 15
16 Sanchez, David 9 Albertville 17:57.95 16
17 Rabadan, Eric 11 Hartselle 18:01.60 17
18 Huddleston, Walker 9 Cullman 18:02.55 18
1 Cullman 30 1 2 6 7 14 18 23
Total Time: 1:24:58.10
2 Albertville 81 5 13 16 22 25 28 31
Total Time: 1:29:06.65
3 Hartselle 85 4 8 15 17 41 48 49
Total Time: 1:29:05.63
1 Barboza, Anahi 7 Fort Payne 19:35.26 1
2 Davis, Camryn 8 Southside-Gadsden 19:41.64 2
3 Sanderson, Mollie 8 Fort Payne 19:48.27 3
4 Crow, Maggie 10 Fort Payne 20:17.73 4
5 Groat, Gracie 11 Fort Payne 20:27.80 5
6 Padgett, Tatiana 12 Pinson Valle 21:07.39 6
7 Jackson, Maddie 8 Fort Payne 21:16.31 7
8 Vega, Abigail 7 Fort Payne 21:22.62 8
9 Vega, Aylin 9 Fort Payne 21:23.01 9
10 Kelly, Della 10 Cullman 21:32.07 10
11 Groat, Maggie 9 Fort Payne 21:38.59
12 Phillips, Charlotte 8 Pinson Valle 21:46.64 11
13 Aviles, Jennifer 10 Cullman 22:07.10 12
14 Williams, Julie 8 Albertville 22:10.40 13
15 Ellison, Tessa 11 Oxford High 22:19.39 14
16 Munoz, Mia 7 Oxford High 22:26.09 15
17 Green, Mattie 10 Cullman 22:26.26 16
18 Barksdale, Brooklyn 7 Fort Payne 22:34.12
19 Johnson, Presley 12 Southside-Gadsden 22:48.62 17
20 Whiteside, Heavyn Leigh 12 Oxford High 22:57.69 18
21 Lang, Emma Grace 11 Hartselle 23:01.84 19
22 Francisco Sebastian, Mar 8 Fort Payne 23:08.72
23 Holt, Alexandra 12 Cullman 23:11.93 20
1 Fort Payne 20 1 3 4 5 7 8 9
Total Time: 1:41:25.37
2 Cullman 82 10 12 16 20 24 25 35
Total Time: 1:52:36.58
3 Oxford High School (Al) 102 14 15 18 27 28 30 32
Total Time: 1:55:02.24