The Cassville High School Wildcats took their lumps this week. After enjoying possibly their best run of the season, a six-game stretch in which the 'Cats were 4-2, Cassville has once again fallen on hard times.
The boys traveled to Class 5 Central (7-11) this week and then played host to Big 8 rival East Newton (15-3 and 4-0) on Friday night.
Cassville took a road trip to Springfield early in the week to face an uncommon opponent for the Wildcats, the Central Bulldogs. In the opening minutes the 'Cats appeared as though they just might neutralize Central's overwhelming athleti-cism, but after a Cassville basket to tie the game at 6, the Bulldogs took control and scored 10 unanswered to give them a comfortable lead.
Despite 5 points from Ryan Schlichtman and a quick deficit cut, down to 5 at 11-16, the visiting team could not make things swing their way. Central would close the quarter on a 14-4 run and led at half 34-18.
Out of the break, Cassville's Tim Orrell and Kelby Haynes did well, scoring a combined 13, yet Central continued to do better as they outscored their guests by 7 and upped their lead to 23. The fourth quarter did not lead to better things for the Wildcats as they only managed a total of 3 points in the final stanza and lost 68-34.
Cassville had a terrible night finding their shot as they did poorly in every category. The 'Cats shot 7 percent (1-14) from three-point range, 30 percent from the floor (13-44) and 50 percent from the free-throw line (7-14). All of these added up to a low of 34 point total for the Wildcats.
The team also seemed unable to work the ball effectively, committing 19 turnovers and tallying only three assists. The Wildcats did only allow Central to shoot 25 percent from three-point range and kept themselves clean, committing only nine fouls. They also forced 15 turnovers.
In contrast to Cassville's poor shooting, Central had great shots. The Bulldogs shot 59 percent from the floor (30-51). They also grabbed 33 rebounds, poked out 16 steals and dished out 18 assists.
Individually, Cassville was led by Orrell and Clint Reed. Orrell scored 12 points on the night and Reed helped by grabbing six rebounds, stealing the ball four times and dishing out two assists.
Schlichtman had a nice game off the bench, scoring 5 points on 50 percent shooting (2-4), taking down five rebounds off the boards and grabbing one steal. Other contributors in the game were: Dannon Rose, 4 points on 50 percent shooting; Haynes, 9 points and two steals; Chris Born, two steals; and Cory Howard, 2 points and one steal.
Cassville's second game of the week was against East Newton. The Patriots came in hoping to keep their conference championship hopes alive. The two teams had met once before early in the season at East Newton, and the Patriots won that game 58-46.
The Patriots had a hot hand to begin things and opened a 5-point lead over the home team, 13-8, after one quarter. In the second quarter both teams' offenses got going and Cassville closed the deficit to 3.
Coming out of the break East Newton led 30-27. The Patriots expanded their lead in the third to 6 at 39-33. Another offense-driven quarter ended things, but Cassville got no closer, losing 54-48.
Cassville again had a poor night shooting the ball, hitting only 39 percent of all their shots and 47 percent at the line. The 'Cats also turned the ball over 15 times.
The Wildcats did keep East Newton's deep game on the ropes allowing only 8 percent shooting from beyond the arc (1-13). They also forced the Patriots into 19 turnovers, 18 fouls and limited them to only four assists. East Newton did have seven blocks on the 'Cats. The boards were also a place of concern for the home team as they gave up 36 rebounds, nine over their own total.
Howard had a great game for the Wildcats coming off the bench and scoring 10 on 57 percent shooting (4-7) and grabbing three steals. Orrell and Schlichtman also had good games. Orrell also scored 10 points had two steals and two assists. Schlichtman had 8 points on 50 percent shooting (3-6), four rebounds and one steal. Others who helped were: Rose, 1 point and six rebounds; Ethan Couch, 5 points and one steal; Reed, 5 points and two steals; Born, 4 points and two steals; and Haynes, 5 points.
For East Newton, Denny Farmer had 15 points and Jon Ringstaff had six blocks.
As it stands now Cassville's record is 7-16 (1-4), yet despite losing a conference game, the 'Cats have moved up a spot to sixth in the conference. Cassville will finish up the regular season with a trip to Seneca (9-13 and 0-4) on Friday.
Then the Wildcats will play Monett (7-17) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the district tournament. The 'Cats are seeded fifth and the Cubs are seeded fourth.
Junior varsity action
The Cassville junior varsity split their games this week. In their first game facing Central High School, the 'Cats had trouble keeping up with the potent offense of the JV 'Dogs and lost 80-46. Blaine Hobbs and Aaron Brooks led scoring in the game with 8 points apiece.
In their second game of the week, Cassville took on East Newton. Cassville fell behind at half 22-19, but stepped up their game in both the third and fourth quarters, going on to win 55-35. The team as a whole got to the line 27 times and stole the ball away 16 times. Hobbs had a great night, scoring 21 and going perfect from the line (4-4).
The junior varsity is now 9-5 on the season and will play their last game on Friday at Seneca.