Wildcats fall to Ozark in districts
The Cassville Wildcats began district play last Tuesday by defeating Reeds Spring at Aurora. The squad then fell to a talented Ozark squad in semi-final action on Friday.
Against the Wolves, Cassville started strong and outscored their opponent 21-16 in the first half. The game was closer in the second, but Reeds Spring wasn't able to muster enough offense to take the lead. The final score was a 44-40 victory for Cassville.
Brian Elkins, shooting 87 percent from the free-throw line contributed 16 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and five steals in the win. Kelby Haynes also had a big night with 9 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Brett Buchanan finished with 8 points and five rebounds, and Cody Ricklefs added 5 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal. Other key contributors were: Tim Orrell finished with 3 points, one rebound and one assist; Chris Born with 3 points, three rebounds and one steal; and Scott Fitzpatrick with two rebounds.
"The Reeds Spring game was a struggle for us," said Coach Randy Robertson. "They play pressure defense, and at times, the boys didn't react to it very well. They did manage to play well enough to get the win."
On Friday, the Wildcats played the Ozark Tigers, the district's top seed. The Wildcats put up a great effort, especially in the first half, and trailed by only 19-28 at the half.
The Tigers wore the Wildcats down, and by the end of the night, Cassville lost 32-73.
Orrell and Haynes led the Wildcats in scoring. Orrell had 10 points, one rebound and one assist while Haynes contributed 10 points, six rebounds and two steals. Ricklefs finished the night with 4 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and one block. Fitzpatrick was credited with 3 points, two rebounds and one assist, Born had 2 points and one rebound and Buchanan had 2 points, two rebounds and two assists.
Other contributors were Elkins with 1 point, 13 rebounds, one assist and one steal and Marcus Hitchcock with two rebounds.
"Ozark is a very talented team. We held the lead for much of the first quarter but lost focus at the end of the half and began to fall behind," said Robertson. "Ozark's depth hurt us as the game continued. We didn't make plays like we needed to in the second half."
Robertson said he is very positive about the future of Wildcat basketball.
"We need to call this year a learning year," said Robertson. "We return a nice core group of players to build around for next year. The JV had a very successful season at 16-3, and some of those players will need to make the step up to varsity basketball for us to be better next
Elkins was tapped for the All-Big 8 Conference second team following the 2005-06 season. The junior consistently led the team in scoring and rebounds throughout the year.