Sevier County vs Cullman

Bearettes dominate Cullman (AL) 55-12 in Winterfest Shootout


SEVIERVILLE – Before most folks in attendance could get in their seats for the second of a quadruple-header at the Winterfest Shootout between Sevier County and Cullman on Wednesday evening, Sevier County had raced out to a 22-1 lead early in the first quarter.

Sevier County would use the commanding first quarter lead to cruise to a 55-12 win and advance to the tournament semifinals.

Kinley Loveday (20) drives to the basket against the Cullman defense during the Bearettes’ 55-12 win in the first round of the Winterfest Shootout. Photo by Brian Hamilton

“After the first quarter, my biggest criticism was the missed shots at the basket,” Sevier County coach Jonathan Shultz said after the game. “We missed some shots at the basket that I feel like we should make, but we came out 5-for-5 on our first five shots and turned them over. I’ll have to watch the film but I think that they only had a few shots in the first quarter.”

A basket by Cybil Penland would put the Bearettes up 26-3 with under two minutes left in the quarter, as Sevier County would lead 28-3 at the end of the first quarter. Ally Sharpe had the only Cullman field goal in the first quarter, while Kinley Loveday finished with nine points in the quarter for Sevier.

Shultz began to empty his bench in the second quarter and neither team did a lot of scoring. A rebound and putback by Kaliyah Burden gave Sevier County a 31-3 lead with five minutes left and neither team would score again until Mandy Saunders grabbed a rebound and score with 1:26 remaining in the half, giving the Bearettes a 33-3 lead.

“Occasionally you need those games, because up until this point, we’ve played a really tough schedule and in those sorts of games you get to throw the younger girls out there and you get to see what they can do,” Shultz said. “When I saw the score in the first quarter, I was determined that I was going to play everybody the first half, because I don’t want it to be just at the end of the game, because you don’t know if the other team is going to sub and put their bench in and I want them to go against the other team’s starters and see what they do in that situation.”

Cullman finally broke a scoring drought, dating back to the first quarter, as Rachel Hoffman made a layup with 46 seconds left until halftime, making the score 33-5.

Mandy Saunders

Mandy Saunders (44) goes up for a layup against Cullman’s Mattie Smith (3). Photo by Brian Hamilton

A layup and deep three-point buzzer beater by Aubree Laney would send the Bearettes to halftime with a commanding 38-7 lead.

A layup by Loveday would extend the lead to 42-7 with 4:54 left in the third quarter. Penland would then grab a rebound and convert a layup to make the score 44-7 midway through the third.

Cullman hit a three-pointer to make the score 44-10 with 3:28 remaining, but Penland would answer with a jump shot to stretch the lead to 46-10. Ava McSwain made a layup with five seconds left in the third quarter to give Sevier County a 53-10 lead, as the Bearettes finished the quarter on a 9-0 run.

Each team only scored two points in the fourth quarter, as both teams played with reserves and a running clock. Reagan Thomas scored the lone basket for Sevier County in the final period on a long two-point shot. The Bearettes would go on to win 55-12.

“I was worried (before the game) because we’ve been off and haven’t played in five days,” Shultz said. “I was worried we might come out sloppy, but the girls, they came out the opposite. They executed, they made shots and took care of the basketball. They did everything that we asked them to do.”

Kinley Loveday led all scorers with 14, while Kaliyah Burden finished with 12. Both Cybil Penland and Aubree Laney finished in double-figures with 10 apiece for the Bearettes.

Ally Sharp led Cullman with seven of the team’s 12 points.

Sevier County (15-2) will face unbeaten Forbush (NC) on Thursday at 1 p.m. in the Winterfest Shootout semifinals. Cullman (10-8) will face Oliver Springs (5-8) in the consolation bracket at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

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