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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2006
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Hartselle avenges earlier loss to Cullman

By Paul Stackhouse
sports@decaturdail.com· 340-2462

HARTSELLE — For the Hartselle High boys basketball team, the old cliché "turnabout is fair play" fit the Tigers' 41-38 win over Cullman perfectly Friday night at the J.C. Pettey Center.

In their previous meeting this season in Cullman, the Bearcats ran away with a 21-point victory.

For the Hartselle boys (8-5, 3-1 in Class 5A, Area 13), the win not only avenged an earlier defeat but will go a long way in determining postseason seeding.

"That puts us in the driver's seat in the area," said Hartselle coach Johnny Berry. "We have to keep working hard if we want to keep it that way."

Berry credited his team's defensive effort as the key to victory.

"Our defense was phenomenal," he said. "We've worked very hard on defense in practice. Coach (Gary) Orr and Coach (Keith) Wright are our defensive coaches and they have just done an outstanding, super job."

It appeared Cullman would run away with the game after jumping to a 13-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

But the Tigers slowly chipped away at the Bearcats' lead and trailed 18-16 at the half.

With 5:38 remaining in the third quarter, Hartselle took a 21-20 lead on Ryne Lindsey's 3-pointer from the corner of the baseline. The Tigers held the lead and headed into the fourth quarter with a 29-26 advantage.

The lead changed sides five times during the final period.

Cullman's Jacob Lovetto's layup gave the Bearcats a short-lived 38-36 lead with two minutes left to play. Lindsey retaliated for Hartselle, making another 3-pointer from the corner to give the Tigers a 39-38 lead. Hartselle never trailed again.

"Oh, man, this game was a lot of fun for us," Berry said. "We struggled so much last year and we had a lot of sad locker rooms. And Cullman really embarrassed us last year. This was an area win and a fun win and I'm proud of our team for all their hard work, which is paying off."

Lindsey led Hartselle with 10 points.

Lovetto led Cullman (7-5, 2-1) with 12 points.

Hartselle girls 46, Cullman 26: As for the girls, school may have been out Friday night at the J.C. Pettey Center, but Hartselle's girls team was busy teaching a lesson on playing sound defense.

At the expense of Cullman High, class was adjourned after the Lady Tigers claimed a 20-point Class 5A, Area 13 victory over the Lady Bearcats.

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