Brennan Crabtree scored 32 points and Rachael Diamond tossed in another 24 to lead East Limestone past Cullman 71-64 in overtime Friday. With the win, the Indians clinched a perfect area record and hosting duties for the area tourney.
“They’re a good team,” Bearcat coach Jonathan Hayes said. “They hit their free throws in overtime. I thought our girls really played hard and played well. We just gave up a few too many second-chance baskets.”
Trailing by five with less than 25 seconds remaining in regulation, Baylee Johnson buried a 3-pointer to pull her team to within two. After a couple of missed free throws, Johnson drove the lane and was fouled with five seconds left. She made both, and the Bearcats survived a late foul —Crabtree missed two free throws after time expired — to send the contest into extra basketball.
Unfortunately for Cullman, the next four minutes were not very kind.
East Limestone made eight free throws in the frame, while the Black and Gold girls were held to just two points to put the game on ice for the Indians.
“Give them credit, they put it in their players' hands and got to the basket,” Hayes added.
Hayden Short had 14 points for Cullman, while Oakleigh White added 10.
Cullman avenged an early season loss to East Limestone and earned a share of the area crown with a 85-70 win Friday.
The Bearcats received big-time scoring from Seth Swalve (23 points), Lawson Schaffer (20) and Chase Slocumb (19).
After a neck-and-neck first half, the trio started to enforce its own brand of basketball.
They combined for 27 of the team’s 30 points in the frame, helping extend a one-point advantage into a 12-point cushion come the fourth quarter.
The Bearcats were good in all facets of the game Friday. They came away with several steals and tipped passes on defense, while also hitting a solid 22 of 27 attempts from the line.
When the Indians did get past the pressure, they were often forced into bad shots — which in turn led to transition baskets for the home team.
With the win, Cullman forced a tie for the area championship and the right to host the area tournament. The tie-breaking procedure will now come down to a coin flip.
“It’s disappointing that it comes down to a coin toss,” Cullman coach Bobby Meyer said. “The state really needs to look at some other alternatives. But at the same time, we are happy to go to a coin toss at this point. Whatever happens, we want to play well in our area tournament.
For East Limestone, Jordon Gandy and Witt Black each had 21 points.