In an electric atmosphere, Cullman used an explosive second-half surge to blow by Scottsboro 75-58 to earn their trip to the Final Four in Birmingham.
Scottsboro came out of the gate firing, hitting five 3’s to help build an early 17-10 lead, but just like in the previous region game, Cullman’s defense picked up and shut Wildcats down as they climbed back to just down one to end the quarter thanks to made free throws. The Bearcats were able to convert 10 of 12 in the half.
Entering the period down just 17-16, both went back and forth for most of the quarter. Cullman continued battling to try and take the lead, but Scottsboro had an answer every time. Cullman had one other obstacle in the second, charges. If you read that sentence, it’s likely you were called for a charge in the second quarter of the game.
Late in the second, the Bearcats found themselves down eight with 3:31 to go and in danger of Scottsboro blowing the game wide open. Instead, they were able to score five quick points behind a Garrison Sharpe three and Tucker Apel put-back to crawl with five to make it 37-32 heading into the half. Max Gambrill provided several sparks throughout, totaling twelve points in the first half for the Bearcats.
The third started much like the first half, with Scottsboro clinging to the lead and fending off Cullman. After a quick 9-0 run, Cullman finally took the lead, which led to a series of fast-paced scoring and several lead changes. That’s when Cullman’s offense exploded yet again, this time going on a 12-0 run that put them on top eleven points. A last-second score by Scottsboro made it 57-48 heading into the final frame.
Cullman could taste the trip to Birmingham, but Scottsboro wasn’t ready to wave the white flag just yet. The 4th quarter started with Scottsboro climbing back to a four-point game, but each time they threatened Tucker Cagle answered, scoring six in the quarter, taking a big charge, and grabbing several big rebounds.
Ultimately, Cullman used their defense and free throw making (Sharpe and Tucker Gambrill each going 4-4 in the period) down the stretch to seal the win 75-58 to punch their first-ever ticket to the Final Four. They held Scottsboro to just 21 second-half points, outscoring them 43-21 while also shooting 23 for 29 from the free-throw line.
Max Gambrill finished 18 points and eight rebounds, which helped him earn All-Tournament and Region MVP for 6A. Tucker Gambrill also earn all-tournament honors, finishing with 9 points and four steals. Cagle had a double-double with 14 points and eleven boards. Apel rounded out the double-digit scoring for Cullman with 11 points.
Cullman improves to 27-3 with the biggest win in school history and will face Park Crossing (27-4) out of Montgomery after winning a nail-biter by one point against Eufaula earlier today. Tip-off is Wednesday, March 2nd at 1:30 pm.