Wildcats upset Carl Junction in 53-50 win

Friday, February 2, 2007
Hot shooting Junior Cory Howard has a fantastic game against Carl Junction last week. Howard led the Wildcats past the defending Big 8 champs by scoring 18 points off the bench .Democrat Photo (b)

Cassville continued its good play as of late, losing a nailbiter in Lamar and knocking off Carl Junction, the defending Big 8 Conference champion who had not lost a conference game since the 2003-04 season.

The Wildcats seemed to take a step back into history in their match-up against conference opponent Lamar (8-4 and 0-2). Due to a leaky gym roof, the game was played in Lamar's middle school gym, which appeared to have been built somewhere in the middle of the 20th Century. With snow still on the ground and apparently still on the rooftops, the two teams got underway in what would be a classic battle.

Despite the historic aura surrounding the teams, the first big key of the game was something new. For the first five minutes of the game Lamar did not score a point and Cassville scored 16.

The Wildcats' pressing defense forced Lamar into eight turnovers and in turn allowed Cassville to score quickly. However, an injury to Dannon Rose, who already had tallied four rebounds in the early minutes, allowed the Tigers to regain some momentum as Rose was poked in the eye and forced to leave the game.

This helped the home team refocus enough to score 8 unanswered points and get them back into the game. Both Clint Reed and Tim Orrell played well in the first half for the 'Cats, scoring 13 of Cassville's 18 and helping create the 18-8 lead.

Cassville started the second quarter well, putting together a 6-1 run. However, eight fouls by the 'Cats in the quarter hurt them and allowed Lamar to close the scoring gap to 8. The Wildcats still led 27-19 at half.

The third frame only helped Lamar as they came busting out of the half with a 12-2 run that gave them the lead. Lamar's Micah Peterson scored 12 in the quarter to boost the Tigers. Lamar built their lead to as many as 6, but the 'Cats cut it to two, 39-37, going to the break.

The fourth and final quarter saw the lead change five times. Cassville was able to get the only run of the quarter scoring 8-2 and tying the game twice. The Wildcats got the lead at 52-51, but Lamar was fouled and tied it at 52. The Wildcats would then sink a basket and put themselves up 54-52, but more fouls, in a quarter where Cassville was called for 10, would leave the Tigers with a 55-54 lead and the ball.

The Wildcats used pressure and forced Lamar to throw the ball away, which gave them a chance with 14 seconds left. The Wildcats had trouble executing on the play though, and the shot in the final seconds missed, leaving the Wildcats with the heartbreaking loss.

Brett Rawlings was very good for the Tigers, scoring 9 points in the quarter and grabbing five of Lamar's 16 fourth quarter rebounds. The Tigers also ended up at the free-throw line an incredible 17 times in the half. Also Cassville's Kelby Haynes and Rose fouled out in the final frame, leaving the Wildcats without their two leading rebounders.

The end result did not end up as the 'Cats would have liked, but the team still played very well. Cassville stole the ball 13 times, turned the ball over 14 times and grabbed 30 rebounds. Cassville's only struggle was at the line where they shot 57 percent.

Individually Orrell and Reed played big for the 'Cats. Orrell led scoring with 17 and also stole the ball five times while dishing out three assists. Reed scored 15 on 50 percent (7-14) shooting from the floor and had three steals.

Born and Haynes also played well. Born scored 7 points on 50 percent (3-6) shooting and also grabbed six rebounds and three steals. Haynes scored six, including 4-5 from the free-throw line, and had six rebounds.

Other contributors were: Rose, 2 points and six rebounds; Ryan Schlichtman, 4 points and four rebounds; and Cory Howard 3 points. For Lamar, Peterson led all scorers with 20 points.

In their second game of the week, the Wildcats took on three-time defending conference champion Carl Junction (13-6 and 2-0).

Cassville played tough with the favorite in the first minutes of play, trailing by 2 at the end of the first frame. In the second quarter, it was Cassville who caught fire as they would outscore the Bulldogs and leave the game tied at 30. This was due in large part to Cory Howard's phenomenal 18 first-half points.

In the second half, the Bulldogs again took the lead and led by 3 at the end of the third, 43-40. However, the home team, after having already lost a close battle this week, decided it was not going to happen again. Cassville then outscored Carl Junction 13-7 in the final frame to win their first conference game of the year and knock off top notch Carl Junction.

Coming off a game in which fouls hurt them the 'Cats kept themselves squeaky clean, committing only nine. Cassville also grabbed 36 rebounds on the night. Carl Junction shot the ball wonderfully from the line, 80 percent, but due to the lack of time spent there, five attempts, were unable to get much from it.
Cassville struggled from the line, shooting 58 percent, but did do a nice job of getting to the line, drawing 20 fouls from the 'Dogs. Wildcat defense forced Carl Junction to shoot 27 percent from three-point range and 33 percent from the field. Howard, coming off the bench, had an outstanding night for Cassville. Howard scored 18 points on 75 percent (3-4) shooting from three-point range and 56 percent (5-9) from the floor.

Haynes and Rose also did well. Haynes scored 8 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Rose scored 6 while tallying 12 rebounds. Others helping with the win were: Born 3 points and four assists; Schlichtman 5 points and three rebounds; Orrell 7 points and two steals; Ethan Couch, 4 points and one steal; Reed, 2 points.

"We enjoyed a very good night against Carl Junction and one not so good against Lamar," said Coach Randy Robertson.

The Wildcats now move to 6-13 on the year and up to seventh in the conference at 1-3. The 'Cats are also 3-2 in their last five games.

When asked about Cassville's upcoming schedule Robertson said, "We need to come back this week and maintain the level of play we ended the week on and get more consistent."

The Wildcats will play Hollister (7-7) at home this Friday for their Tip-Off celebration and then will be back on the road next week, playing at Springfield Central (7-9) on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

JV Action

In junior varsity action this week, the Wildcats met Lamar and Carl Junction and came away with two victories.

In the Wildcats' first game, they took on Lamar and won the game handily 59-42. As a team, Cassville scored 23 higher then their season average, grabbed a total of 32 rebounds and only turned the ball over seven times.

Marcus Henry and Blaine Hobbs led the team with 15 points a piece, and Couch tallied nine rebounds.

In their second game of the week, Cassville fell behind early to Carl Junction, trailing 29-19 at half. However, two good final quarters would propel the Wildcats past the visiting Bulldogs 48-44.

The 'Cats only turned the ball over six times in this ball game, and Hobbs was sensational, scoring 30 points.

The junior varsity team's record now stands at 6-4 on the season.

Freshman ball

The Cassville freshman boys let another game slip away as they played McDonald County this week. The score ended with the Mustangs on top 49-38. Travis Northern led Cassville scoring with 15. The freshman team falls to 2-9 on the season.

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