Wildcat boys look to surprise

Thursday, January 18, 2007
The Cassville Wildcat basketball team is preparing to begin the heart of its basketball schedule. The Cassville boys played their first conference opponent Friday in Aurora. The Cassville boys' season has not started out the way the Wildcats wanted. To begin the season the Wildcats lost their most contributing starter, Brian Elkins, due to interest in other sports. This not only took away the 'Cats' leading scorer from last year, but cost another senior leader for a team that was already young.

Cassville started the season with a win, defeating Southwest 62-47, but then lost their next four before finally beating Blue Eye at home. The Wildcats lost three more after that win before beating Southwest again in the Trojan tournament. Then another four losses, and the Wildcats now stand at 3-11 overall and 0-2 in the conference.

The 'Cats have struggled to find their rhythm. At times they challenge good teams, such as West Plains and Aurora, but cannot sustain that play against their weaker opponents.

"In order to solve the problems that are causing us to lose games, we will need to continue to work hard and bring better effort on the court," said Coach Randy Robertson when asked about Cassville's sour start.

The Wildcats as a team are averaging a very good 12 steals per game. They also grab 28 rebounds per game and dish out 10 assists. The 'Cats also average a 18 turnovers per game and 15 fouls.

The team has had some trouble shooting the ball this season, hitting 29 percent of their shots behind the arc and only 37 percent of their shots anywhere on the court. They're also only making 62 percent of their shots from the free-throw line.

As a team the Wildcats average 46 points per game and give up an average of 56 points per contest; however, some of these statistics are indicative of Cassville's young and undersized team.

For instance, 67 percent of all of Cassville's scoring comes from their junior class. In fact in every category, rebounding, assisting and stealing, the junior class accounts for more then 60 percent of the result. This is largely due to the fact that the Wildcats have only two seniors. Secondly, the 'Cats are undersized. The team's pure forwards average 6'1" in height and their tallest starter is only 6'2".

Junior Kelby Haynes (6'2") is one of the Wildcats' most consistent players. In the preseason, Haynes was listed as a guard but now plays as a guard/forward and leads the 'Cats in rebounds. Individually, Haynes averages the team high's 12 points a game and seven rebounds.

Senior Tim Orrell and junior Clint Reed, both guards, are also big contributors. Orrell scores 11 points a contest as well as averaging over two steals. Reed puts in about 8 points per game and also averages two steals, as well as hitting 80 percent (20-25) of his free-throw shots.

Junior Dannon Rose, a forward, averages 5 points per game but leads the starters, shooting 56 percent (23-41) from the field. Marcus Henry, another junior, helps out off the bench and has hit 75 percent of all his shots this year.

Junior forward Ryan Schlichtman and junior guard Cory Howard average 3 points a piece off the bench, and senior guard Chris Born averages 2 points per game along with sophomore Ethan Couch. Ryan Pace averages less than 1 point per game but has just come back from a hand injury that saw the sophomore miss several games. Orrell holds the record this year for most points in a game with 24; Howard also has a bench high of 14. Howard is also tied with Schlichtman for non-starter high steals with two and has bench high four assists. In the category of rebounding, Rose has 11 in one game and Henry has seven off the bench in one night. Both Born and Haynes have tallied as many as seven steals in one contest and Reed has recorded eight assists in one game.

The junior varsity team also started out with a losing record but has recently shored up some things to give them a record of 4-3. The team averages 34 points a contest.

Blaine Hobbs leads the team offensively, averaging 13 points and two steals a game. Henry also helps, shooting 54 percent (13-24) from the floor and grabbing five rebounds per game.

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