Tigers land knockout punch in fourth quarter to defeat Cullman 69-57

HARTSELLE – Hartselle, and Cullman stood toe to toe with one another through three quarters. The Tigers landed the knockout punch in the fourth as they pulled away for a 12 point victory.

Leading 44-39 entering the fourth quarter, Hartselle saw Cullman convert two turnovers into points to tie the game at 44. After the Cullman run, Hartselle closed out the game on a 25-13 run. Brody Peebles scored 15 of his game-high 40 points during the run.

Peebles and Kiah Key hit back-to-back 3-pointers that staggered the Bearcats, but it was Peebles’ six-straight points following the Key 3-pointer that was the knockout blow.

Peebles scored 15 in the first half and 10 in the third quarter.

The Bearcats hung with Hartselle early on with a strong defense and by getting some easy buckets at the basket by Jaden Sullins and Kaleb Heatherly.

Sullins and Heatherly combined to score 19 points in the first half as Cullman led 29-28 at the break.

The Tigers were able to withstand the early body blows with the play of Peebles and Trent Wright, who combined to score 22 of the 28 Tiger first-half points.

Following some halftime adjustments, Hartselle opened the third quarter by outscoring the Bearcats 9-2 over the first five minutes. The run allowed the Tigers to build a 37-31 lead.

With 1:47 left in the third, the Cullman coach picked up a technical following a charge call on his Sullins. Peebles then knocked down two free throws which extended the Tiger lead to 42-35, their largest of the game.

Cullman would cut the lead to five, 44-39, heading into the explosive fourth quarter.

Wright finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks for the Tigers while Tad Sivley had another double-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks. Peebles added seven rebounds and Jackson Raley had six assists.

Cullman (10-10, 0-1) was led by Sullins, who finished with 18 points and six rebounds, while Heatherly added 16 points and six rebounds.

COACH KEY’S THOUGHTS: I thought Cullman had a good defensive game plan with a zone we hadn’t seen in a while. Even though we didn’t start particularly well our guys kept fighting and hung in the game. I am proud of how they handled the adversity early on. This was a great win for the team.

Brody had shots to be made and once he started knocking them down he was hard to stop.

BRODY PEEBLES’ THOUGHTS: I have to give credit to my teammates for finding me in the right places in the Cullman zone. It was hard to dive to the basket, so we needed to knock down outside shots.

Coach Key challenged us at halftime to pick up our play. It showed in the third as we come out as a different team.

UNIQUE MATCH-UP: The game featured two players, Jaden Sullins and Jackson Boyer, who will be teammates next season. The two have signed to play college football with Navy. They have faced off on the football field but this was the first time on the basketball court.

UP NEXT: Hartselle (18-4, 2-0) will travel to Athens on Tuesday night.

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